When Selling the House Determines If You Should Divorce

Couples consider their finances and investments very carefully when deciding whether to divorce. In fact, some couples intentionally avoid starting the divorce process despite being miserable together. Why? Because they believe that the home they own together is keeping them from moving forward. In a past article, we tackled the question of who gets to stay in the matrimonial home (click here for that one) But, some couples think that selling the house determines whether they should divorce at all. And it’s time to address that.


Waiting for the Right Moment

Despite being miserable together, some couples choose to bide their time in the house (and in the marriage) until some magical – and often undefined – moment that will be the right moment.  For many, waiting for the right time to keep or begin selling the house is that moment.   We can’t seem to shake that feeling we got a few years ago when home prices fell to staggeringly low figures. Some of today’s couples have been – and still are – biding their time, waiting for prices to level out or for equity to return in their home.  

This is, of course, a very important consideration when deciding if you should keep or begin selling the house. If and how you are going to be able to survive as a single person on one income in the future may have a lot to do with how much your home sells for.

Of course you want as much equity in it as possible. Of course, if you are selling the house, you want the price to be as high as possible. Of course you want to walk away with a big check in your pocket. Your future comfort depends on it.

But, here is what is important to note today: southeast Michigan’s real estate market has rebounded. In many cases, home prices have bounced back up to where they were, or higher, but inventory is very, very low. And, interest rates are still rather low, too.  

What does this mean for you if you are one of the people whose house has been keeping you from a divorce? It means you have breathing room. And, it may mean that you have a good opportunity on your hands to consider selling your house and finally moving forward.

Home Values Have Increased

What we do know is that generally home prices are up in many southeast Michigan communities, including those in Oakland, Livingston, Macomb and Wayne counties. Is the price of your home up? That needs to be determined. Most Realtors will offer you a free home valuation for people considering selling the house – often even a general one by email – so getting some preliminary, basic information is not hard to do.  Other home valuation services like Zillow, may provide some general idea of your home value.  It should go without saying that the only accurate way to determine the true value is the process of selling the house.  The valuation services may get you in the ball park, but are not guaranteed.

Inventory Has Decreased

Last, we need to recognize that inventory in the housing market is low in many communities in southeast Michigan. In an article by Crain’s Detroit Business, home sales in November, 2016 jumped by double-digits. The article notes that much of the growth in the real estate market can be attributed to a lack of available housing stock, and that in this month there were 41.9% fewer homes on the market that in November, 2015. And, homes are staying on the market an average of 13.3% fewer days.

To prospective home buyers ans sellers thinking of selling the house, this means there aren’t a lot of options out there, so when a good home in a good area hits the market, buyers are very interested and may pay more for it. It makes for a great time to sell a home.

Interest Rates Won’t Stay Low Forever

You should also know that interest rates have been really low for a while. That makes moving very attractive to prospective home buyers who want to move sooner rather than later in order to take advantage of these great rates. However, you should also note that we are about to have a change in the White House. This always causes uncertainty and makes it more difficult to predict what may happen to interest rates which can have an effect on the ability to borrow money and ultimately, whether selling the house is a good idea.  In fact, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates slightly for the first time in a very long time, and it is predicted that there will be three more hikes in 2017. Three! That’s huge and it’s going to impact mortgage rates, and change some buyers’ minds when it comes to moving or the price you will get if your selling the house.  

Just how big of a deal is a small change to mortgage rates? Let’s look at the example of a $300,000, 30-year loan. At 3.5%, you’ll be paying out $151,640.22 in interest by the end of it. If that loan rate is just a quarter of a percent higher at 3.75%, that amount jumps to $161,199.87. And, at 4%, the total amount in interest you will pay after 30 years is $176,965.43. The half-percent difference translates into over $25,000 in extra interest you would pay! Isn’t there something else you could do with that money? Like, put a child through college or go on vacation (several times) or invest in your retirement?

Consider Your Options Carefully

If you have been sitting on the fence because of your house, you should know that you don’t need to be miserable any longer. We can help you determine whether this is the right time to move forward based on many circumstances of your life, not just whether it’s the right time to sell your home (but we’ll help you look at that, too). It’s time to consider your happiness. We’ll help you get on the path to finding it again, and we’ll help you keep your principles intact, too. Contact us anytime. Let’s talk, before you list your house for sale.

About Findling Law

I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

We want to help you manage your situation. Let our exceptional legal team help you . . .


Local: +1 (248) 399-3300 – toll free:   (877-YOUR FIRM)

After hours emergency?:  +1 (707) 968-7347

Or email me at:   Daniel@Findlinglaw.com

By:  Daniel Findling

Related Links

Michigan Property division video

Are Rising Home Prices Prompting More Divorces?


Federal Reserve raises interest rates for second time in a decade


Metro Detroit median home sales prices climb in November


Mortgage Calculator


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About Daniel Findling

Daniel Findling is a divorce and family law attorney in practice for over 20 years and managing director of Findling Law, P.L.C., a divorce law firm with attorneys who share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their life without compromising principles.   Daniel is a proud father of three, private pilot, prolific blogger and lecturer.  A 1971 graduate of Shaarey Zedek Beth Hayeld, very good student award, a 1993 graduate of Wayne State University Bachelor of Public Affairs, magna cum laude and a 1997 graduate of Wayne State University Juris Doctor, cum laude.  A member of Pi Sigma Alpha – National Political Science Honors Society, recipient of the Bronze Key Certificate – Wayne State University Law School, a DBusiness Top Lawyer, Super Lawyer, Crains Detroit Business Top Lawyer, Hour Detroit Top Lawyer and Avvo Top Divorce Attorney.

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