Feb 11, 2011

The Big D's in Real Estate

The biggest D's in real estate aren't in Dallas. They are the two factors that drive many real estate sales - Death and Divorce. Most folks are unaware of the ramifications of death or divorce on a real estate transaction.

Today, let's look at how divorce affects a real estate transaction. While I'm not a lawyer, I'd like to share some important items to know when it comes to Dallas real estate:
  • If you're married, there is no legal separation in Texas. Even if your financial affairs are completely separate, you're still married under the law and when it comes to your real estate. So if you're in the process of divorce, you're still married. Keep this in mind as you read the next facts.
  • Your homestead rights extend to your spouse. You cannot mortgage or refinance your homestead without your spouse's consent. You can sign a deed of trust but not a note on the property without a spouse's signature.
  • You cannot SELL your homestead without your spouse's consent. It doesn't matter if the spouse's name is on the title. Non-titled spouses must still consent to the sale. The only way to avoid this is if the property is not your homestead (like an investment property) and you own another property as your homestead.
  • Homestead laws and marital property rules (community property, separate property) are separate legal concepts in Texas.
  • If you are in the process of divorce (and thus still married), make sure you and your agent talk with your divorce lawyer prior to entering into any real estate contract. It could upset your divorce negotiations and make your divorce more complex and expensive. Unless you want your ex-spouse to be co-owner in your new property, you may need to wait until the decree is final. [where: 75230]

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