Navigating Divorce and Real Estate: The Reality of Selling “As-Is”


In the tumultuous world of contested divorces, reaching common ground often feels as daunting as passing a Congressional bill. Take, for instance, the seemingly simple task of listing a house. Picture this: after rounds of heated negotiations or arguments, your client reluctantly agrees to list the house, but with a stern caveat — it must be sold “as-is.”

As a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert® (CDRE®), I’ve seen this scenario play out time and again. Clients march into my office, brandishing the court order that absolves them of any responsibility for repairs or expenses related to the property. “It’s to be sold ‘as-is’!” they declare triumphantly.

Here’s the scoop: selling a house in its current state is entirely feasible. Legally, buyers can’t compel sellers to undertake repairs. However, let’s delve into the practical implications.

The cosmetic appeal of a home significantly influences its desirability, the volume of showings, the quality of offers received, and ultimately, its sale price. Buyers often scrutinize every detail, from the freshness of paint to the tidiness of landscaping. However, beyond surface aesthetics lie potentially costly issues like structural damage, faulty systems, or hidden defects. These aren’t apparent at first glance but may surface during buyer inspections, leading to repair requests, credits, or price negotiations.

The real estate market’s dynamics further shape this narrative. In a hot seller’s market, buyers may forgo inspections or demand fewer repairs to secure a coveted property. Conversely, in a balanced or buyer’s market, sellers must reckon with more discerning buyers who scrutinize every flaw.

Currently, we’re not in a market where buyers readily overlook deficiencies. While home values remain stable, buyers are less inclined to waive inspections or overlook significant issues. Consequently, sellers who opt to sell “as-is” might face price reductions or credits, impacting their net proceeds.

Let’s circle back to that “as-is” clause. Clients often bristle at the prospect of losing substantial sums due to this agreement. Yet, as Bill Clinton famously remarked, the interpretation of “is” matters. Sellers aren’t obliged to foot the bill for pre-sale repairs, but they must acknowledge that a property’s condition directly influences its value.

Houses embroiled in divorces often bear the scars of neglect or deferred maintenance. Whether these issues are addressed upfront or factored into negotiations later, they invariably affect the bottom line. Hence, it’s prudent not to rely solely on initial net proceeds estimates.

Rest assured, as a CDRE, my mission is to optimize value and equity in every transaction. I’m here to navigate the complexities of real estate in divorce cases, ensuring that clients make informed decisions and secure the best outcomes possible.

In conclusion, selling “as-is” isn’t a carte blanche; it’s a strategic choice with financial implications. Let’s collaborate to navigate this terrain and achieve success in your real estate endeavors. I’m just a call away for any queries or assistance you may need.

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Katina Farrell

Katina Farrell

Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert®

Katina Farrell, CDRE® is an experienced Realtor & Managing Broker who specializes in real estate transactions, with expertise as a trained Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert® and a Certified Negotiation Expert. She handles the sale of real property in family law cases as a neutral expert. Schedule a complimentary chat and discover more ways Katina can help you resolve the real estate challenges plaguing your divorce cases.

Call: 720-295-8848


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