The Christmas period is a happy time for many and for making new friends and entering into new relationships. Sadly, it is also (and not entirely unrelated in some cases) a catalyst for the end of relationships too.
If you are going through a break-up (or are planning to), for whatever reason, and there is property involved (and always if you have children), try to aim to keep it as civil as possible. It will cost you a great deal less in stress and money in the long run (and your children will thank you at some point too)! This is advice born out of both painful personal and extensive business experience.
As agents, we are often asked to discreetly give an opinion on price prior to the other partner even knowing the relationship is about to end.
A good agent will always be discreet but, the chances are your neighbours will spot a stranger coming to your door and will drop you in it, usually at THE most inappropriate time. “Morning you two, I saw you had a friend popping in this morning. Is it family?”
If we are invited in once the split is advanced, we often find that one partner will always angle towards the lowest valuation possible and the other, the highest; dependent on who hopes to buy out the other/ stay in the home.
This often causes even more pain and anguish as you now both have a new cause of tension: whose agent/ valuation is right?
That said, divorce lawyers will often suggest that each party obtains their own valuation. The cynics amongst us, may believe that this is designed to stir up more angst and expensive legal work but that is pure speculation. Cough.
If lawyers are involved, from experience, it is better for both people to ask for their respective lawyers to commission an RICS surveyor to give an opinion on value and any obvious defects in the property with both people agreeing to abide by that surveyors value but, to set the marketing price at a set figure above the surveyors valuation (e.g. 5% – 10% to allow for negotiation and surveyors being, occasionally, cautious). The cost of the surveyor split two ways will be FAR cheaper than the cost of one or two letters between lawyers as each side battles it out to try to win the ‘whose value is right argument’.
Once you have a mutually acceptable figure, we would advise you choose a good agent, who will accompany every appointment. Both people agree to ensure the home is in a presentable condition and that they leave the house empty while viewings are taking place (so no one can accuse the other of trying to affect the viewers’ decisions about a property).
All agents must, by law, check to see if anyone else has a financial interest in a property and, must also treat each person equally. If you have a court order giving you control over the process, the agent will need to take a copy of this.
It’s also vital before you put your home on the market, that you both agree who is taking what in terms of curtains/ carpets etc. and anything from the garden etc. and that this is given to the agent. At PDQ, we ask all of our clients to complete a legal Property Information Questionnaire and the Law societies Fixtures and Fittings list to give to potential buyers to a) eliminate confusion and potential arguments over what is being sold/ left with the property and, b) to speed up the sale process once a sale has been agreed.
Relate Relationship support for everyone
Gingerbread Legal issues during separation