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Buying  a home after divorce: a case study

Buying a home after divorce: a case study

In her podcast At Home with Breffnie, “Working with a Buyer’s Agent” Breffnie shares five case studies of recent property buying projects that she managed for clients.

First case study: Buying a home after divorce

Jane* was going through a divorce, and was selling the family home in order to fund the purchase of a new home. . Jane felt anxious about:

  • how her house sale and concurrent purchase of a house was going to pan out in terms of timing.

  • the fact that she would have no funds to support a purchase of a new home until the sale of her existing home closed

  • the likelihood that she would need suitable short term accommodation for herself and her family

A situation with a lot of moving parts.

By the time Breffnie first meets Jane there is a "Sale Agreed" sign outside Jane’s family home. Jane is feeling stressed because she doesn't know exactly what is going to happen next.

The first step Breffnie takes when meeting with Jane is to come to an understanding of the current situation. The big picture is that once the family home is sold there will be plenty of funds to secure the purchase of the new home. The short term let that is needed while awaiting the release of these funds, also needs to accommodate the family pet.

A clear brief is all in the details!

What action she should prioritise.

When Breffnie met with Jane, Jane’s home was “sale agreed” and Jane was wondering what action she should prioritise. For example, should she get cracking and empty the attic?

Breffnie was able to chart straight away a clear roadmap of all that needed to be done from that day to the day Jane was standing with the keys to the front door of her new home. That roadmap included advice on practicalities like on when best to clear out the attic.

Breffnie's tip? Don't clear that attic out yet as there is a 1 in 4 chance that the purchaser will fall through at this stage.

Breffnie was concerned that the attic would be cleared out into Jane’s home that was all neat and tidy for viewing, that the sale would fall through and then Jane would have all the stress of getting everything back into the attic again for another set of viewings. Breffnie advised Jane to wait until a binding contract is signed by the purchaser of Jane’s family home before beginning to pack up any part of the home.

Make the house viewing process as simple and easy as possible

The next service that Breffnie was able to offer this busy mum was to make the house viewing process as simple and easy as possible. With a clear brief from the buyer, Jane, Breffnie would drive by 10 or 20 potential properties and consider them against Jane's criteria. At a lunchtime meeting Breffnie would propose a shortlist, whittled down using her own expertise on property value, position on road, aspect and other elements and Jane and her family's wishlist.

During a lunchtime appointment Breffnie would pick Jane up and drive her to an initial shortlist of five properties, discussing the merits and demerits of each. From this, Breffnie started to get a more in-depth understanding of the kind of properties that attracted Jane. For example, the properties tended to be

  • well maintained,

  • had off-street parking,

  • were a walk-in solution and

  • didn't require any major restoration or refurbishment in order for Jane and her family to move in.

It took about 3 or 4 of these lunchtime sorties for Breffnie and Jane to find the property that Jane ultimately purchased.

Meanwhile, other practicalities needed to be addressed.

  • The family's belongings needed to be put into storage for the interim.

  • Short term accommodation needed to be secured, that would be suitable for Jane and whichever of the children would be with her and the family pet.

Breffnie secured this, and negotiated a flexible rent agreement so that Jane knew that she wouldn't be penalised for breaking or extending a lease agreement.

Jane found a property she wanted and Breffnie put in a bid on her behalf. The price rose, unexpectedly, and reached €30,000 more than either of them originally expected to pay. Breffnie suggested, then, to pause and review the properties that were on the market for this new higher figure so that Jane had a clear sense of what her options were for that higher price. This review clarified Jane's understanding of her choice of property. The timing was right and she felt it was a good price to get her "forever home".

The value that Breffnie added for Jane

So the value that Breffnie added for Jane was:

  1. As a native guide to the process of property purchasing.

  2. Mapping each step of the property buying experience in a clear and relatable manner.

  3. Refining the number of properties viewed, based on Jane's criteria and using her own expertise and connections. Breffnie ensured Jane only had to view a minimum of properties. This saved immense amounts of time and effort.

  4. Breffnie assisted Jane with her bidding strategy, helped her clarify her thinking and back her own judgement. Breffnie also shouldered the responsibility of liaising with the estate agent to proffer the bids on Jane's behalf which can be a time-consuming and disruptive element of house purchasing in Ireland.

  5. Securing short term accommodation for a family and their pet and taking some of those moving parts off Jane's overloaded plate was essential to ease the stress during a demanding period in Jane's life.

You can listen to this podcast in full online. It includes four other case studies looking at a young family returning to Ireland from abroad, a father assisting a child with their first home, a couple based in North America seeking a property to base their clinic in Ireland, and a rural couple investing in an urban property.

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