In Episode #10 – Real Solutions with Real Estate, we talk about the realities of making decisions about real estate during divorce. Whether it’s a shared asset you’d prefer to sell or deciding whether to stay in the family home, this episode has solutions. We’re happy to be joined by Hilton Head Island-based realtor, Karen Ryan. You may view the original We Chat Divorce broadcast here.

The Unwanted Asset

Catherine shares about a recent experience where we were able to work together with another professional to provide a creative solution to end a client’s ongoing stress. In this case it was with our guest for this episode, realtor Karen Ryan:

“We had a client who was getting nowhere with her divorce. She was two years into the process, and they were stumped on this rental property that they owned ‘down on a beach somewhere,’ as she explained it to me. She did not want this rental property. She was the bread winner of the family. Her husband wanted this property. But there was really no way out, the attorneys did not know what to do about it. They were going back and forth, but he clearly could not afford it. She had some emotional issues with having it because of things that went wrong in their marriage. So, I said to her, ‘Where is this rental property?’ She said, ‘Hilton Head, South Carolina.’ And I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I’m going there; I know a realtor, I’m going to talk with her, see if she’ll take me there. And then I can evaluate it financially, see if it would be worth while keeping, and maybe we can financially be creative and come up with a solution finally end your divorce.’

That’s when I called today’s guest, Karen Ryan, and told her the situation. She took me through the property, went through everything, and said, ‘We manage properties, so the stress would not have to be on the client.’ We went through the numbers and she gave me a spreadsheet of possible rental income on this property. I went back to Pennsylvania, met with the wife, we went through the numbers, and our client actually started to cry. She said, ‘I can’t believe you have a solution for me. I can’t believe these two years can come to an end, because this could work.’ And I said, ‘Yes, it could. Go back to your attorney and here’s what you should tell them.’ She did. They got divorced. To this day, she’s still renting that property and she’s very happy about it.”

So, know that there are ways to think creatively about a financial situation, to take the emotion out of why you think do not want an asset, when the asset can be positive for you financially.

It’s so hard to make decisions in the divorce process at any moment, because you’re just so driven by your emotions and everything’s so new and unknown. That’s why we say we’re going to start with knowns and we’re going to keep going from there.

The Devil’s in the Deed Details

Another thing to consider is making sure everything is correct on the property deed. Even though it seems like a simple transaction, if it gets messed up it can be a reason for litigation later. So, any time you’re wrapping up things after divorce, and you’re ending up with property, make sure you get that deed reviewed by a real estate attorney.

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