A guide to selling your home due to a divorce or separation

Preparing for a fresh start

If you’re going through the experience, we understand that having to sell a home in the wake of a separation or divorce is potentially highly stressful. There are so many things to think of on top of the personal upheaval – from family finances to pet care to dividing assets including property.

This guide aims to take you through things step by step, so that you navigate the process and minimise the emotional toll.

First steps

Once you and your spouse or partner have decided to go your separate ways, it makes sense to consult a solicitor. They will be able to advise you on any legal considerations to take into account, and guide you through the financial side of any settlement.

Make your mortgage provider aware of the situation if you have a home loan – and ask if they have any help or advice to offer. For example, you may be able to take a brief ‘mortgage holiday’ while your property is being sold.


Once you’ve instructed a solicitor, you’ll need to contact an estate agent. Every agency is different, but what we do, even though legally we only need one signatory on our sales agreement, is to insist on having two. This helps create a successful sale that’s less stressful for all concerned. A good estate agent understands the need for a high level of agreement and transparency.


The easiest way to inflame an already highly sensitive situation is for communication to break down. So all parties must be involved once a property is up for sale, if only through mediators. By updating both sides on viewings, feedback, offers and progress, we reduce the risk of sales falling through and making an often stressful situation even more fraught. Having these procedures in place helps enormously when it comes to selling and moving on, both literally and emotionally.

The five do’s and don’ts of moving on successfully

1 – Do seek advice and help

If you’re in this situation and selling a property for the first time, perhaps because your ex or soon-to-be ex has always dealt with the process in the past, you’re certainly not alone.

The paperwork, processes and preparations can seem daunting, so remember you don’t have to do everything unaided. We’re always happy to go through any issues or questions you may have, and are here to help every step of the way. Moving home can be an emotional experience at the best of times, so we understand what you’re going through if you’re upping sticks in potentially highly charged circumstances.

2 – Don’t sell to ‘quick sale’ home-buying companies

There are a number of companies offering a ‘quick buy’ service where they will put in an offer on your property to complete the deal at speed. But this type of service should always be a last resort rather than your first choice.

You’ll get a considerably more profitable sale if a decent estate agency does a proper job of marketing your property.

3 – Do your research

Once you’ve decided to put your home on the market, ask three different estate agents for a valuation. This will allow you to gauge the one with whom you feel a genuine rapport, and who you feel you can trust with the sale of your property.

4 – Don’t be dazzled by cheap fees or an overvaluation

We’ve often known people who are going through a divorce or separation to instruct an agency which has overvalued their home simply to gain the work. This frequently leads to a property staying on the market for far too long, at a time when the seller can least afford for that to happen.

And, as the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. So it’s worth asking yourself why some agencies’ fees are so much cheaper than others. Often, a personal service, the very thing you’ll need most at this time of your life, are not a priority for a cheaper estate agent.

5 – Do look to build a working relationship

Look for an agent which truly values the working relationship with you, and not just the transaction.

We’ve built our whole business on long-term relationships with our clients. We focus on service, listening, empathising and being there for them.

Its vital that you choose an agent you can trust!

We answer your FAQs

Things to think about …

What if one party wants to buy out the other?

If that’s your situation, explore your financial options. We can help by putting you in touch with an independent mortgage broker.  

Do you both want to sell?

Often, this is necessary since there has to be mutual agreement on price and the property sale’s marketing strategy.

Will you both be living at the property during the sale?

If the answer is yes, your estate agent will need to discuss preparation for viewings (who will do the tidying up, for example?). We do accompanied viewings as standard, meaning no one needs to be home when someone looks around your home.

Are there children involved?

Again, this is to do with viewings. It’s often a good idea to take children out while these are happening.

We answer your FAQs

Things to think about …

How would you like us to contact you?

We’re always glad to use the customer’s preferred communication method, whether that’s phoning, text messaging, emailing or meeting in person.

Are we meeting at the property or elsewhere?

We understand you may not always feel comfortable meeting us at your current property. So, if you prefer, we’re very happy to meet you to discuss the sale somewhere else.

Are we meeting at the property or elsewhere?

We understand you may not always feel comfortable meeting us at your current property. So, if you prefer, we’re very happy to meet you to discuss the sale somewhere else.

What should we tell prospective buyers who ask about reasons for moving?

We’d always advise being open and honest with any potential purchaser who asks about this. It’s unlikely to affect the decision about whether or not they buy the place. And, once you’ve answered the question, you can focus on highlighting the positive points about why someone should buy your property.

Does the divorce solicitor need to handle the conveyancing aspect?

Typically, the solicitor handling your divorce will be highly skilled in that area of law, but won’t be as experienced at handling the conveyancing side of things. So our advice is to appoint a conveyancing solicitor with experience in handling property sales, since they’re likely to complete the sale quickly and with minimal stress. Compare prices, but also ask how long, on average, it’s taking solicitors to handle a property sale from start to finish – you should be looking for this to be somewhere between 60 and 90 days.

Our six top tips for moving in this situation

1 – Finalise your divorce before moving out

Generally speaking, most divorce solicitors advise against moving out before a divorce is finalised. So while it’s clearly a natural reaction to want to leave as soon as possible, check this out with your legal expert.

2 – Take stock, not things

Once you have agreed your divorce, list those items which are yours and which you want to take with you when you leave. Unsure about who owns what? Discuss it with your ex-partner if you can, and reach an agreement. It can sometimes be better not to take sentimental things which remind you of the relationship – a cleaner break could mean a fresher new start.

3 – Book your removals firm

Good removal companies get booked up quickly, sometimes months in advance. So get quotes as soon as you can. As with any service, it’s generally a good idea to get personal recommendations, and quotes from three different removal firms.

4 – Get packing

You can make life easier for yourself if you start packing early, and do a little every day. Start with those items you don’t use often (or, for example, heavy jumpers if you’re moving in the summer) and leave the stuff you use daily until last.

Keep essential items like keys, passports and medicines in a bag which stays with you during the move. Remember not to overpack boxes, and try not to use bags, which can’t be stacked. Label everything as well.

5 – Moving day

This is likely to be quite an emotional occasion, so try and have a friend or family member with you on the day. Keep your phone fully charged and ensure the removal company has your number and can contact you if they need to.

6 – Home sweet home

You’ve got the keys to the new place and you’ve finally moved in! Treat yourself to a takeaway on the first night, because you deserve a break and the chance to relax. Everything else can wait until the next day, when your new chapter truly begins.

For questions about anything in this guide please feel free to get in touch:


Bexhill Branch

12 Sackville Road
East Sussex
TN39 3JL

01424 224700

Eastbourne Branch

35 Cornfield Road
East Sussex
BN21 4QG

01323 723500

Hastings Branch

60 – 61 Robertson Street
East Sussex
TN34 1HY

01424 722122