Before making any long-range plans of selling a home, it’s important to find out whether your home has any equity.  Reality can pack some rude surprises.

If you’re envisioning a comfortable future based on imagined proceeds that will never actually materialize, it’s better to find this out and make the adjustment now, rather than after the agreements have been signed and reality is knocking on your door.

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It is an important step to obtain a realistic sale price for your property. Another important step before putting your house on the market is to run a title search, which your real estate agent can do for you. This will reveal any liens attached to the property and help you determine how much money you might receive after a sale. If the numbers point toward a short sale, your agent can then reach out to the respective creditors and begin negotiating the most favorable terms.

Here are some of the items that could be subtracted from your sale proceeds:

  1. Unpaid balance on second mortgages
  2. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
  3. Unpaid property taxes
  4. IRS liens
  5. Mechanic’s liens (for unpaid construction or remodeling work)
  6. Child support liens
  7. Family law attorney’s real property liens (FLARPLs)
  8. Prepayment penalty riders
  9. Unpaid homeowners association dues
  10. Real estate sales commissions
  11. Title and escrow fees
  12. Termite damage repair costs
  13. Other lender-mandated repairs

By estimating these costs, adding them up, and subtracting the total from your expected sale price, you’ll get an idea whether you’re looking at a short sale—or if you can expect some money at the end of it all.

Excerpt from The House Matters in Divorce by Laurel Starks, Unhooked Books.


About Laurel Starks

Laurel Starks is a divorce real estate specialist. Trained in both mediation and collaborative divorce methods, she speaks frequently on real estate and divorce issues to legal and alternative disputes resolution groups.

A former host of the talk radio program Real Estate Matters, Starks also serves as an expert witness in real estate matters related to divorce cases, including the mishandling of procedural aspects therein. She handles the sale of real property in family law cases, and is one of the top producing realtors in the nation. She was nominated in 2016 for the coveted Innovator of the Year by Inman News, the real estate industry’s leading news source. Laurel lives with her husband and two sons in Southern California.

Starks is the author of The House Matters in Divorce: Untangling the Legal, Financial and Emotional Ties Before You Sign on the Dotted Line, published by Unhooked Books.

From “The House Matters In Divorce,” by Laurel Starks. View this book at this link: