By Jeffrey Wagman

Selling a home in which the clients are going through a divorce is one of the most stressful and difficult situations in the real estate business. For most families, the value of the matrimonial home is their greatest asset, and the emotions attached to the end of a marriage and selling a family home are extremely high.

As an agent who has handled many stressful situations that have arisen when selling a home during a divorce, I can tell you that keeping control of the situation is key.

The home was a happy place at one time and now emotions are divided. If kids are still living at home, it’s even more sensitive.  Now the home is going for sale and lives feel displaced – the Realtor has quite a situation to handle.

It is extremely important to remain both empathetic and professional, as there is a job to be done while treading delicate waters. If one Realtor is involved for both spouses, one must be careful to represent both and not favour one. Often two salespeople, sometimes from different brokerages, are involved to assist and advise one spouse each. A professional Realtor remains objective and acts as a trusted advisor, with the main objective of preparing the house for a quick sale and maximizing the sale price.

One of the most challenging matrimonial sales I experienced had a court order for the sale of the property, that also prohibited the spouses from speaking to each other. I became the mediator, and it was not an easy situation to be in.  Showing a home for sale is stressful to any seller – now imagine if one spouse doesn’t want to sell but is forced to. I was able to navigate this situation through empathy and my professional duties.

In situations like this, the stress can get so high that arguments often occur that involve the salesperson, even though the salesperson is just trying to do his or her job. An experienced agent would not take this personally and realizes the stress of the situation is causing the anger and understands how to delicately put out the fires.

In today’s world, divorce happens a lot and the sale of the family home is inevitable. Hiring a real estate professional who is trusted, experienced and knowledgeable is what makes all the difference in helping clients ensure a smooth and successful sale during this difficult time in their lives.

Jeffrey Wagman is a partner and broker of record at Forest Hill Real Estate in Toronto. He sells homes and condominiums in the central Toronto market and is consistently ranked in the top one per cent of all real estate salespeople in Toronto.


  1. Great article Jeffrey, it offers a great reminder and insight into the depth of our Profession and what we sadly do face. It makes it even more difficult for us when we are handling this for past clients whom we were involvedwith when they bought their home. Having dealt with this many many times, I impress upon both parties that the sooner we can achive a sale, the sooner they can move forward with “one less burden”. I also instruct our Provincial Real Estate Pre-Licence Course and touch on how in their soon-to-be new life as a REALTOR(R) Professional they will be 1/3 Consultant/Trusted Advisor (we are not sales people), 1/3 Lawyer and 1/3 Psychologist and we need to always remember that for us, representing our clients is a day to day endeavour but for our clients it is a once every “XX” years situation and couple that with the emotions they experience whether in good times or in not so good times, we must always be cognizant of the fact some and even lots of hand holding may be required and that we may face some challenging comments not really directed at us, but at the situation at hand so as you said…. never take anything personally. Thanks for your insight.

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