How to Downsize After a Divorce


The decision to get a divorce is never easy. It is often accompanied by feelings of heartbreak and loss, especially when selling the matrimonial home and downsizing. However, moving on can also be a positive experience as the healing begins and you look forward to a fresh start. New adventures await you, and every decision is yours to make from now on. The type of house you live in, the neighbourhood, how to decorate – it’s all up to you. Before your new life starts, you have work to do to sell your home so you can both move on. Here is a checklist to help you stay on track.

Selling your existing house

If the divorce is somewhat amicable, this step becomes much easier. Otherwise, you may have to make arrangements to work on the house separately. It’s important to earn as much as possible from the sale, so you and your partner are in a stronger financial position to go your separate ways. 

Selling a home during a divorce is more complicated than other situations. Here are some additional facts you should know. 

Now that you’ve decided to sell, what can you do to maximize your results?

Start with a Thorough Cleaning and Decluttering 

This is not the time to be sentimental. Everything that you don’t use or don’t need must go. Sort everything into a keep, discard and donate pile. Having a friend help you go through your belongings can keep you objective and make the process more fun. 

Once everything is sorted, then the thorough scrubbing begins. Vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the bathrooms are easy ways to start. But don’t forget about the areas you tend to less often, like the walls, baseboards and spaces between and under furniture. If you have curtains or blinds, they will need to be washed as well.

Make Inexpensive Repairs and Upgrades 

You don’t have to tackle any significant renovations before selling. However, if there are nail holes in the walls or broken faucets, repairing them can increase your overall sale value. And don’t forget the power of a fresh coat of paint to brighten things up. We recommend light colours, even pure white, to make your house appear larger and more modern.

Clean Up the Outside

A potential buyer starts assessing the value of your property the second they pull into the driveway. To make a positive first impression, you want to make the outside visually appealing and inviting. In the springtime, you might consider planting some fresh flowers, and of course, make sure the lawn is mowed and free of weeds. In the winter, keep the snow cleared at all times. You can decorate with outdoor solar lights to add a feeling of warmth as potential buyers arrive.

Hire a Professional Stager

Beautiful staging can help your house sell for more money and much faster than leaving it empty. It creates a blank canvas where your buyer can imagine the home as their own, and increases your chances of multiple offers to choose from.

We believe our beautiful staging is one of the biggest reasons for our success in the Toronto market. Want to know more? Here’s one of our most popular articles.

Use a Real Estate Agent

Selling a home can get complicated and overwhelming in any circumstances. When going through a divorce, having a professional to take care of all of the details can ease your burden considerably. A full-service concierge agent can work with other contractors to handle the cleaning, repairs, upgrades, and staging. 

What exactly is a concierge real estate agent? Find out more here.

After the Sale

Selling your house is probably the most stressful part of moving on. Once the sale closes, you should take a moment to celebrate. However, there is still work to do. Here are some steps to help you make a smooth transition to the next stage of your life.

Take Care of the Paperwork

After your house sells, there will be paperwork to clean up and closing costs to consider. Keep a copy of all selling documents and contracts for your records. In addition, you’ll need to notify your utility companies to cancel your accounts and see if you have any refunds owing to you. 

Take a Final Walkthrough 

A final walkthrough is essential, not just to say goodbye, but to ensure you haven’t left anything behind and leave the house clean for the new owner.

Get Pre-qualified for a Mortgage

You’re about to embark on a new purchase in a very fast-paced market and need every buying advantage you can get. A pre-qualification allows you to make a compelling offer to sellers and increases your chances of landing your ideal home.

Scout Out Your New Home

If you haven’t already, now is the time to consider what neighbourhood you want to live in and what type of housing is right for you. Are you ready for condo life in the exciting downtown core? Or is a smaller house in a quieter neighbourhood what you need? Finding your new home is an exciting step, and you want to explore all of your options.

Change Your Address 

Once you know your new address, take some time to update all of your correspondence, such as credit card companies, banks, and any subscriptions. It’s always a good idea to forward your mail for six months to a year, just in case you forget to update your address somewhere.

Hire a Moving Company

You have earned a break after everything that you’ve accomplished. Moving countless boxes, furniture and other heavy objects should be the last thing you need to worry about. The right moving company can save you countless hours better spent planning your next steps and enjoying your freedom. 

Want help deciding your next move? Here are some other resources to point you in the right direction:

Are you ready to sell your house and start your new adventure? We are happy to answer any questions you may have. You can contact us here.