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Selling the Place You Own Jointly with Realty Collective

Realty Collective, a boutique brokerage in Brooklyn started by Victoria Alexander, joins us this week to get real about real estate, specifically how to navigate uncoupling when you own together.

The initial impact of a break-up is always a mixture of complex and sometimes conflicting emotions. Confusion, shock, relief, anger, grief, and fear can all be a part of this process and it’s completely normal and healthy to feel all of this. It is also healthy for this process to follow a path where layers of feelings present themselves during different stages of your break up. One stage, which is generally further along the path, is splitting up your joint assets and effects. If you owned a home together, this gets more complicated but we’ve got some advice that may help.

laptops, cohabitation, apartment, real estate
Dividing up belongings of a shared space can be challenging

First realize you are not alone and that there are steps you can take to ease the process for you both. Selling a home can be extra stressful when you add on a break-up, separation or divorce to the undertaking. Since design and staging are big factors when making your home feel welcoming to buyers you may have to simplify and move some of your things out. This means you’ll have to go through the whole rigmarole of figuring out who gets what in the break-up before putting your space on the market. For those who have newly moved in together, this may not be a huge deal. You leave what you came in with and perhaps you didn’t acquire too many things that you’d consider shared effects.

For those that have shared a life for longer, things get tricky. Objects in the home have become both of yours and there is a lot of gray area when it comes to what belongs to whom. Even the most amicable separation goes through periods where you just cannot agree on something. In fact, dealing with financial questions and the dividing of property can turn an amicable break-up into something less harmonious. This is where a divorce or separation mediator would come in. A mediator is there to make sure you both are comfortable with the end result of your negotiations. She or he will coach you through this difficult time and they will do it with both of your best interests in mind. You make the decisions together but the mediator can help stamp out any potential fires before they start. Read this article with more info on mediation from the American Psychological Association called How to Split as Smooth as Possible. For other couples two separate attorneys may be necessary. Sitting and making decisions together sounds ideal but if it’s just something that you have both not been able to accomplish you may need to let lawyers negotiate for you.

Unfortunately, this step of the break-up may be the most difficult for some. Emotionally and objectively it’s the last visceral experience of separating your life with this person you with which you were once attached. It’s something you’ll get through and when you come out the other end you’ll most likely feel a mixture of relief and wistfulness but if you can take your time, attain all the help you need and keep your eye on the proverbial ball, you’ll be on your way to moving on to your own space and your own life.

Realty Collective, a boutique brokerage in Brooklyn, celebrates the borough's rich history, architecture, culture and people. You will often see the word “passionate” when describing the way this collective of real estate agents feels towards the place they live and work. Red Hook resident, Victoria Alexander, co-founded Realty Collective in 2005 with a values-driven approach to real estate that had not been seen at other agencies. RC is committed to shattering the stereotypes associated with NYC real estate agents with the understanding that a space is more than just square footage but a place to create, reflect and support who we are.

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