How To Sell Your Home During Divorce – Get The Most Money Through Mediation
Unknown Speaker 0:00
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 0:01
I everybody, this is Scott Levin, founding partner at San Diego Divorce Mediation and family law. And I am joined today by Bridget Potter. Tim, how are you, Bridget?
Bridget Potter 0:11
I’m doing great. Thank you so much Scott for having me.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 0:13
Of course Bridget is a real estate professional. But she has a really unique niche service. She is actually a real estate divorce specialist. And she has a number of unique designations. And I really just wanted to have her on because real estate is obviously hot, hot, hot. And in the divorce world, real estate is really a huge thing in a divorce. And a lot of times my clients come to me and they ask, you know, Who should we hire? And my answer is, you know, a certified divorce specialist, someone that has training, dealing with people going through divorce. And not necessarily, you know, the neighbor down the street. that’s a that’s a real estate agent, but someone that’s trained and an expert in the field. And I really just thought that Bridgette could offer us some unique insights today. So again, Bridget, thank you for coming into my zoom. And, Bridget, tell us tell us about the real estate divorce specialist designation. What sort of training do you do? Give us some background about that?
Bridget Potter 1:29
Sure. Thank you, Scott. So I started doing divorce transactions about 10 years ago. And I fought tooth and nail to avoid them. One of my very first transactions that was a divorce deal was so horrific that the buyers who were trying to buy the home of a couple who had been married for over 30 years getting divorce, my buyers threatened that they were going to get divorced if I didn’t get the deal done. So I had two couples, one divorcing one on the verge of divorce. And it was it was a nightmare. And I swear I’ll never do a divorce deal again. And here I am one of a handful of brokers in the county that are designated as a certified divorce real estate expert. So fast forward. And I started actually getting referrals from family law attorneys and mediators around the county. And I learned a lot through trial and error. Because back then there were no great designations out there, it was a lot of the realtors, we were just trying to figure it out and screw up as we went. And believe me, I definitely had my fair share of screw ups early on. Because I didn’t know what I was doing. And about six years ago, I finally found a designation outside of California, it was in Colorado called the real estate divorce specialist. So I took that it was taught by a broker, a attorney and a CPA. And they kind of taught us the ins and outs of the financial aspects of the legal aspect. And then of course, the real estate piece, which really helped piece things together. And then more recently, I became a certified divorce real estate expert, which really helped me take it to the next level. So not only did we talk about the financial aspect, the home, but we really dove into the psychological aspect, which is really a lot of what it is. There’s a lot of things that are involved in transaction. And it’s not just the house, you have to couples that either don’t get along anymore, or maybe get along but they’re separating. There may be kids in the mix, there may be multiple properties in the mix. There may be sometimes one person wants to wants to move and move on and get rid of the house and the other one does not because there’s emotional attachment. So there’s a lot of psychological aspects of it that we don’t really talk about enough.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 4:02
Yeah, you know, I was we were talking last time we spoke and I was saying, I haven’t had a real estate transaction in my life. That hadn’t gotten personal. You know, every, every time that I bought or sold a house, an issue came up where I was like, I don’t like this person that’s buying my house or that selling me their house and in divorce. I mean, you really, you know, it can really take it to the next level. I mean, how do you deal with two people that are co owners of a house? I have equal rights to it, whether they one wants to sell or the other one doesn’t. The fact is, they’ve decided to, you know, out of necessity or otherwise to list their house. How do you deal effectively with both parties in that situation?
Bridget Potter 4:50
That’s a great question. So as a certified divorce real estate expert, I actually had to take an additional oath of neutrality which Additional real estate brokers don’t do. And one of the big pieces of that is my job is to do what’s best for the estate, meaning the party as a whole, not one party or another. And sometimes what that means is talking myself out of a job. And what I mean by that is, there might be one person that decides they would prefer to hold on to the home and buy the other person out. And it’s important for myself and other real estate professionals to take a step back and talk to them about the options that they have buying out the property. And so sometimes it means just getting in front of a CPA, a certified divorce lending professional, certified divorce financial analyst to talk the numbers through with them and see if it is even a possibility. You know, Scott, the rates right now are so ridiculously low, that it’s possible people before were not able to do a buyout, they might be able to now, on the flip side, there’s a lot of people right now, unfortunately, that are unemployed. So maybe if they could qualify for a buyout now or before, they may not be able to now. So it’s important to just kind of keep in touch with your financial advisors with your certified divorce specialist, and your, your lending professional to just see where you’re at financially? And if you can do it, and if you can, great. If not, then we need to talk about some other alternatives.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 6:30
Yeah, and I mean, I think that you can get a sense for who Bridgette is as a person, given that she’s essentially giving advice to people that want to hire her that they could first, you know, seek out alternatives before taking that step. So pretty unique and rare in the real estate business, at least from my experience. Thank you. So Bridgette, why what makes other than, you know, getting business from people that are going through divorce, you know, is there anything that that that fuels like fuels you on the inside that once you that convinces you that you want to be in this world?
Bridget Potter 7:15
That is a great question. So as I mentioned, I fought really hard to get out of the divorce stuff I didn’t want it was too messy for me. I’m a stager, I do a lot of my listings, I stage I love the happy aspects, helping people make money, helping them find their dream home, there’s a lot of exciting parts of real estate. The divorce part, unfortunately, doesn’t do that. For me. However, a number of years ago, when I was still squeamish about doing divorce transactions as a focus, I had an attorney sit down with me at lunch, and she said, Bridget, you’re being selfish, because you are really good at these divorce situations, and not a lot of people are, and by you saying that you don’t want to do them. You’re being selfish by not protecting the people who need your help. And that has always stuck with me. And she was right. She was right, she stopped me dead in my tracks. And I realize it’s not about me, it’s not about what I need, or what I want. It’s about there are people out there who don’t know that there are specialists who can help them get through probably one of the hardest times in their life and make it easier to move on and move towards that transition. And that’s why I do what I do. That’s, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful to hear. And
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 8:42
you know, it’s really interesting. You mentioned staging, because one of the things that that when when my clients in mediation are talking to me about you know, who they’re going to hire to help them sell their property, oftentimes, the biggest asset that they own, the most important asset that they own, and there are emotions with the asset. It’s not a 401k It’s a home and that’s different. It The thing that I try to talk to people through is that you want to hire someone that can get rid of the aura of divorce in the home. You do not want people coming to buy your home. That can sense Oh, this is this is a fire sale. This is a divorce house hack. And it’s really interesting that you say you’re in this you know also in staging, because I really think that that would give you a leg up on you know some of your competitors and helping people get top dollar for their home.
Bridget Potter 9:41
You’re you bring up a really good point, Scott, because I think that is a common mistake that is done in our industry is sometimes people are too forgiving with personal information. Most of the time when I sell a home that where they’re going through a divorce. I almost never disclose it, and a lot of times it’s not asked If they don’t ask, you know, we don’t share that information, it’s very personal. And the buyer, it’s not that important for the buyer to know that what’s important for the buyer is to know is this the right property for me. And I agree with you. There’s a lot of things as far as staging, sometimes it can be hard if the couple is still there, or if one party is still there are thirst kids there. So every situation is different. And right now, with the pandemic, I always think it’s ideal if the home is vacant. There’s just a lot of legal issues that come in when you’re when you’re showing a home where people are living in it right now. And so, so there’s a lot of different factors. And we really just kind of come with a customized plan for each one of our clients to make sure that it’s the best fit for them.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 10:45
Yeah, I mean, I think what I’m hoping that people will do with this video is that they’ll contact you, Bridget, for more information about your services. I don’t want to go on and on. But I mean, in terms of COVID-19 I mean, that’s obviously had a big effect on real estate. And it turns out that it seemingly has bumped real estate team and, you know, being hotter than ever before. What are you seeing out there as a result of the crisis?
Bridget Potter 11:15
Yes, I mean, initially, we thought that the market was going to take a hit. But actually the opposite happened. The rates have gone down since COVID. Since our shutdown started. And as a result, buyers have taken this is even more of an opportunity to try to jump into the real estate game. I think I mentioned to you, I listed a property on Friday, and we had over 30 showings over the weekend, we had so many offers, we could barely see straight, and we ended up selling the home for significantly over list price. And the homeless not updated or upgraded. So that just goes to show there’s a lot of opportunities for sellers right now who want to sell their home or who need to sell their home to move on.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 12:00
Yeah, that’s great. And it that’s actually leads into one small plug for mediation. Briefly, I promise. You know, when you’re in a litigated divorce scenario, it’s very hard to sell a house in the middle of that, because there’s a lack of trust, and you’re waiting for a court judgment, essentially, in mediation, once we come to a settlement, which most often happens within less than a month of working with our clients. You know, both clients will sign their marital settlement agreements. And at that point, they’ll take action on what’s in those agreements. So if the arrangement is for the house to be sold, you do not need to wait two years to sell the house, you know, take advantage of this market now. list the house. And mediation is a great way to facilitate that, in my humble opinion. So Bridgette, I really appreciate you joining us today. And how can I guess I can see you have some text there on the side. But how would you like people to reach out to you? Yeah, you
Bridget Potter 13:06
can find me on social media on Facebook, my Facebook page or on Instagram, at Real Estate divorce specialist. And I wanted to thank you so much Scott for for having me on. And you’re so humble the way that you just spoke. And I really want people to I want to reiterate the point that I think a lot of people overlook the mediation option, and thinking that it might not work for them. And I think that what you’re saying, you know, sometimes things can get pretty crazy if you’re in litigation. And if you have to deal with a court order, you’re up against somebody else’s rules about when to sell your home, versus Scott being able to help you come up with a plan that will work for both of you versus trying to duke it out. I think it’s so much better of a situation it’ll be good for for both parties in that. And Scott, I think you’re just such a wealth of information that I hope people know to be able to contact you before they you know, they get to that point.
Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin 14:08
Thank you Bridget. I really appreciate that and we work hard and that means a lot. So you know Wishing everyone well. And, and you know, be safe. And think about peace first and contact Bridget for all your real estate needs. Thanks, everyone. Thank you so much, Scott.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai