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Forcing Sale of former matrimonial home?(19 Posts)
Hi everyone - first post so please excuse any newbie mistakes!
My ex husband left me for another woman, we divorced and the financial side took longer. Our seven year old son lives with him and he lives in his new woman's frankly huge house which has five bedrooms.
I have remained in the former marital home and pay the mortgage alone, as well as meeting all costs for the maintenance (new gravel for driveway, restoration of window frames and so on) so the house is appealing as possible to potential buyers.
The house has been on the market about 8 months and I have agreed to reduce the asking price by 10k (the house is on market for £370k and is really a niche market house).
The ex wants to continue pushing for further reductions but what I'm afraid of is selling the house so cheap that it affects my ability to purchase a suitable home afterwards. I work so hard to continue paying the mortgage and keep the house looking lovely always so it's presented well, in our consent order i have agreed to pay the mortgage and bills and that we split the equity equally but after the rest of the mortgage is paid and solicitor fees etc I'm afraid I'm going to struggle to buy if we keep reducing the asking price (his first threat was to reduce by 30k or go to court!)
I don't understand the urgency as he is nicely accommodated as is our son while I lie awake at night worrying about how I'm going to afford anywhere. Nobody can conjure a buyer up out of nowhere and as an estate agent once said, it could be the first or 50th viewer, you just are waiting for the right person to walk in and fall in love with the house.
Very sorry for the long rambling post but I'm terrified (also terrified of incurring further solicitors feed!) what can I do??
Tell him if he wants to drop the price, he can, but the further drop all comes out of his share.
Thanks MrsBertBibby! I'll say that to my solicitor if I have to use her - good idea and completely fair in my opinion!
Not necessarily fair. A house is worth what someone will pay, not an arbitrary amount decided by you and an estate agent. No offers in 8 months says it is overpriced.
Hi caroldecker, as I mentioned the house is very niche market...and falls into a bracket which really only appeals to people in established, well paid careers.. it's not exactly a house for a young family. I'm always keeping an eye on the market and there are similar houses which do take a long time to sell. It is certainly fair that the split is adjusted so I am financially able to purchase a house if I have to reduce the asking price, given that my ex husband doesn't need the money to buy a house and is sitting pretty living in his new partners house which has no mortgage to pay!
Very difficult situation.
But that's his partner's house, not his.
Presumably since he is the one wishing to drop the price he would need to pursue this legally, so for now you could just refuse.
It really is, a very difficult and worrying situation.
I've been reading other cases online - of course every case is different - but what courts are interested in, it seems, is ensuring each party is housed. Ex husbands (and our sons) need to be housed is being more than met, but if he keep saying pushing to reduce simply to get rid of the house, it will mean I will not have much leftover to buy a house and at my age it will be difficult to get much of a mortgage to cover the rest! I can see it needing to be dealt with through court but am worried about the outcome.. I don't understand why he is pushing for a quick cheap sale when it will maybe leave me in a really awful position
He no longer cares about you. He wants it over quickly. A court cannot manufacture money from thin air.
It is not a niche house, just not worth what you are asking.
OP do you already have a financial order in place?
Dozer - I have a lawyer - I don't really know what makes a good lawyer!
caroldecker - trust me it's worth the asking price, I've been viewing properties on the market to get an idea of what I can maybe afford. This house is absolutely perfect, detached, needs zero work on it, everything has been completely renovated in the past ten years, to high standard, everything top quality - solid wood, granite, you name it!. houses I've seen are semi detached and need extensive work to deal with all sorts of structural and decorative problems and on market for only 100k less!
MrsBertBibby we have a consent order in place for the financial side of the divorce so I don't even know if I can vary terms but I have an appointment with my solicitor so I suppose I'll see what she says... I'm just trying to gather as much info as possible so I'm prepared
No, you can't vary the terms of the order (other than by consent). The court won't therefore consider your housing situation, as that was done when the order was made.
The consent order is done so that's that. You cannot redo it or change it.
So it doesn't relaly matter if you like it or not - it's the court's order (as MrsB says correctly above).
So the only relevant issue is what exactly dose the order say about sale of the house - eg sometimes they say which of you controls the sale process (as often one person sabotages a sale). Eg it might say if not sold in 2 months then it goes to auction.
it doesn't say anything about the sale of the house, only that it is placed on the market with a specific estate agent or any other agent as agreed between parties or if we can't agree on an agent the court decides.
So far it's been me controlling the sale process (as I live here am main point of contact with arranging viewings) along with him hassling the estate agents. I do everything I can to encourage a sale, I welcome viewings and spend hours online reading about tips and tricks for house viewings fresh flowers, nice smells, light the fire, lawn feed... I'm keen for the house to sell as I'd quite like to move on in my life post-divorce as my ex has done but not at the expense of my ability to buy again.
I'd have thought that a change in the value of the asset (in this case we agreed on the estate agent based on the valuation they gave that we were both happy with) which affects my ability to purchase a suitable home afterwards would be enough to apply to vary the order? If based on the assumption the house sold for the valuation given by e.a there would be enough equity for both parties, but if the value is reduced significantly there will NOT be enough equity for both parties in which case he doesn't have to worry about his housing needs but I do and won't get enough equity from the sale to purchase a suitable home after...
I'm afraid the unpredictable nature of house valuation is too foreseeable to be a "Barder event" (named after the case which determined just how random an event must be to allow an order to be reopened.)
Surely every month you pay the mortgage it actually reduces how much you gain from keeping the house priced at the current figure?
If you are paying £2000 a month and have been for 8 months thats £16000 you have paid out on your mortgage. Had you reduced the price of the house by £10000 it may have sold already and you would have saved yourself 8 months of stress and £6000 in mortgage payments.
I'd be tempted to just put it through an open day with closed bids by the end of the day. Speak with your estate agent and get them to really market your property. If its still on the market after 8 months then something is wrong somewhere whether its the price or its not being marketed properly. Maybe consider another agent?
I get why your exhusband is pushing the sale. He may only have temporary permission to live where he does but also he will want to move on with his life as quickly as possible especially with regards to your child. It isn't good having things like this dragging on. 8 months is more than sufficient time to sell a property I believe that the average home sells within a month.
Definitely push your estate agents to do their job or list with someone else.
Good calculations from Odin.
Have you tried using several estate agents - sometimes if one exclusive one does not get anywhere then a couple of extra ones can be a good push to a sale? I suspect in this case so you can both move on you will need to consider putting it in an auction in say June with a low reserve price. I presume you cannot afford to buy your other half out -as if you think it is worth quite a bit more than he does you would be happy (if you had the funds) to buy it at that higher price.
Hi Odin, I see what you're saying but yes it has already been reduced 10k and I see it that the more of the mortgage is paid the more equity there is to gain when it does well - less to pay back to mortgage lender!
Interesting point you raise, currently a sole agency agreement (but obviously long out of the tie in period) was speaking to an estate agent from another agency during a viewing (as in I was viewing a house as prospective buyer) and she discussed with me the benefits of multiple agency agreements.. I am reluctant to increase commission fees though by using multiple agents and with Rightmove etc I'm 100% of the benefits as Rightmove and zoopla have their own mailing lists of buyers, of course there is the competition aspect of introducing another agent.
Ex husband has lived with his partner for the best part of four years since he left me, it took a long time to get round to the divorce as we had a horrendous case over the child as he did a runner with the child and tried to make the new partner his mum and blocked any contact, made all kinds of false accusations..so sorting that out and ensuring our child's rights were protected was a priority - after all the poor mite was put through I decided it was better to leave him with his dad where he was settled and considered "home" rather than cause more upheaval due to my own desires to have him home but that's another story! But the reason the divorce took ages to come about.
I have considered trying to find a way to borrow more so I can buy him out, to take the pressure off but that's bonkers at my age but at least I've considered it! So yep if I could afford to buy him out at the current asking value I would, it's honestly a gorgeous really unique house and a lot of work and love went into it, all the little details etc. I will definitely look at the contract for e.a and write to ex to see if we can agree to multi agency listings!
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