Di­vorce wran­glings can make sell­ing dif­fi­cult

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

H O U S E s a l e s c a n b e c o me com­pli­cated when there is a di­vorce in­volved, says Lan­ice Stew­ard, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank (APKF).

“APKF agents have learned to tread war­ily, par­tic­u­larly when one of the par­ties in the di­vorce de­cides to buy a new home be­fore the di­vorce has gone through. This is not a wise move be­cause the new house will form part of the es­tate and will, in fact, be jointly owned by both par­ties un­til the di­vorce is fi­nalised.

“Then there is the prob­lem that the di­vorc­ing cou­ple of­ten refuse to co-op­er­ate in sell­ing the home. Sig­na­tures of both par­ties are re­quired when a cou­ple is mar­ried in commu- nity of prop­erty, but for a whole range of rea­sons, one of the cou­ple may de­cide to hold back – very of­ten us­ing this re­fusal as a lever to get a set­tle­ment.”

De­lays caused by this tac­tic have on more than one oc­ca­sion re­sulted in the buyer go­ing else­where, says Stew­ard.

“Di­vorce can also leave a bad vibe in the home of which prospec­tive buy­ers rapidly be­come aware.

“In th­ese sit­u­a­tions a cheer­ful, pos­i­tive agent, a spring-clean and sev­eral bowls of flow­ers placed at strate­gic points can do much to recre­ate the af­fec­tion­ate, car­ing at­mos­phere a happy home gives off,” says Stew­ard.

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