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A real estate agent’s guide to handling divorcing clients

How handling divorce real estate became Laurel Starks' passion
  • Handling divorce property is a challenge in neutrality, plus you are doing a lot more work, keeping both parties (and their attorneys) up to date.
  • Doing your due diligence in divorce real estate is crucial -- mortgage payments can often be in arrears.
  • If you really want to specialize in divorce real estate, consider mediation training.
  • Selling a divorce property rarely leads to more transactions because clients are typically financially strapped and not ready to buy.
  • No matter how complicated the sale of divorce property may be, remember the phrase, “Just sell the house.”

Laurel Starks Laurel Starks remembers her first successful sale of a divorce property. It was early in her real estate career in 2006. An attorney friend got her appointed as the agent on a court order to sell a house. And when she arrived to see the house, it was not at its best. “I opened up the door; there were boxes stacked floor-to-ceiling, and the home had been flooded because a pipe burst and the wife did not have the money to get it properly sucked out, so she was using buckets and bins," Starks remembered. "She’s telling me her story: her husband had a girlfriend, she needed to take her son to Oregon for a new school, and I thought, 'This is nothing like they teach you in real estate school.'" She introduced herself to the husband as his agent, and he said, “Over my dead body.” She was up all night long Googling advice on how to clinch the sale. 'Just sell the house' In a funk, she rang her attorney friend. He gave her the best piece of advice sh...