Amid divorce, house not selling
Q: Hi Jennifer, please help! My wife and I are getting divorced, our house won't sell, and now we are stuck living together. What can we do?
- Andrew M., Reading
A: I'm sorry to hear that. Survival is key here - you both will need to act as a team in spite of everything. Selling the house is a major step that will allow you to move on, and it'll be worth working together to accomplish this quickly.
All the house-selling tasks you need to do still apply. Declutter every room, closet, and the garage. Increase curb appeal. Remove personal items such as family photos, and keep everything spotlessly clean. You may need to accept a lower offer than you'd like, just to unload the house and move on.
If you can afford it, hire a stager who can give you an outsider's perspective, suggest quick fixes such as paint colors, and help edit furnishings. Well-staged homes may sell quicker and for more money than nonstaged homes. The bonus is that the house won't feel as much like the home you two shared.
Obviously, don't share the master bedroom. If you have a spare bedroom, stage it as a guest room instead of an office or exercise room. From a potential buyer's perspective, it'll make more sense for adult possessions to be in a guest room rather than in a child's bedroom or next to the sofa in the living room, and each of you will still have some space and a comfortable bed.
Potential buyers can sense stress in a household, so the more businesslike and goal-oriented you are, the better. Work hard at giving each other space rather than fighting. Seek the help of a mediator if necessary. Maintain your jobs, volunteer, or do something to get out of the house each day. Refrain from entertaining overnight guests, starting new hobbies, or making major purchases until you're both in new households.
It'll be a challenge but it's not impossible. I wish you both the best.
Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality. Send your questions for her to AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com and follow her on twitter at @JenniferAdams.