Lucky are the few who move out of their houses simply because they have tired of the view or suddenly possess the means to trade up. More often, it is a change in life circumstances that pushes people out into the housing market, something like a new job, a new husband or a new baby.
Bob Bailey-Lemansky and Vicki Stout specialize in the sale of New Jersey homes of clients going through divorce. Deals stemming from breakups tend to make up about half of their business.
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For real estate agents and brokers, deals that spring from divorce are an inevitable slice of the business, and over the years, many find themselves gathering answers to questions they hoped never to ask.
For most agents, this is an accidental expertise. For others, it is a niche.
It was about three years ago that Ms. Stout, a widow and single mother, and Mr. Bailey-Lemansky, who is divorced, created New Jersey Real Estate Divorce Specialists. Today deals stemming from breakups tend to make up about half of their business. They have a few useful tips for their clients (how both halves of a divorcing couple can maximize tax breaks on capital gains when selling a home, for example) but most of what they offer is more basic.
Mr. Shapot recalled situations where apartments were left covered in laundry and dirty dishes because the partner still living there was not eager to sell. Ms. Katzen said a client of hers in similar circumstances left the bathroom filthy and the apartment reeking of smoke for its first showing.
Elayne Reimer, an executive vice president at Halstead Property and a former marriage and family therapist, said she had clients a few years ago whose impending divorce required jumping through extra hoops not just for her but for buyers, too.
A similar dance was performed each time she took buyers to see the apartment, first one section, then, at a later date, the other.
Even in difficult circumstances, however, homes do eventually sell, at which point the parting couple gathers up the pieces to look for separate places to live, and real estate agents are called in again.
Ms. Katzen of Douglas Elliman has a pair of divorcing clients right now who are buying two apartments on different sides of the same building, she said, because they hope it will make the separation easier on their child.
Modular building, a design approach that once focused on single-family homes, is becoming increasingly popular for multi-unit residences.
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