Divorce REALTOR® Toronto

What is Divorce Real Estate?

Divorce real estate is the process to sell the matrimonial home and split the equity. For a couple divorcing, each party must decide to get the maximum possible amount from their real estate. The more people fight over the real estate, the more their legal and other professional bills increase, and their walkaway money decreases. Hiring a divorce REALTOR® who understands this process and can execute a successful sale while mediating between both parties is key to navigating this emotional process. As I have written in my book on divorce, your ultimate goal should be to get divorced quickly and then to live well.


How to Sell a House During a Divorce

Selling a house during a divorce can be messy and emotional and a lack of focus on the goals can result in an even greater loss of money and increased stress.


How Do I Find a Qualified Divorce Lawyer?
  • Do not just check online. Too many disgruntled exes will obviously want to bad mouth the lawyer on the opposing side of their divorce.
  • Best bet is to ask friends who have been through a divorce. Some may have found the lawyer who was best for them and some may have found their worst choice. Here is a question to ask, “did you respect the lawyer for your ex more than your own?”
  • Ask other professionals, a real estate lawyer, accountant, clergy, your Realtor, who they know as a good matrimonial lawyer.
  • Ensure that you and the lawyer are good together. Do you feel that you are being talked down to or that they do not have time for your questions? If so, move on and find the lawyer who is best suited to your needs.
  • The Law Society publishes lists of specialities. Matrimonial lawyers can be referred.
  • Always look for a lawyer who works in the matrimonial field.
  • Look into “Collaborative Practice” as an alternative.
What is Collaborative Practice?
  • It starts with the parties signing an agreement to show mutual respect and to be forthcoming to work together to resolve the separation.
  • The parties agree not to go to the expense of a court trial
  • Each party is open and honest about their financial matters, nothing gets hidden.
  • It differs from other actions because the parties are cooperative and the lawyers work and negotiate in good faith, not from adversarial positions.
  • One of the benefits of this avenue, besides saving on the legal fees of going to court, is the settlement is private.
  • It is a much faster process, and in a divorce or separation, time saved is money saved.
  • For more information on this process and to find lawyers who practice collaborative divorce, this site will assist you: https://www.collaborativepracticetoronto.com/
We Own Property, What Is the Process of Division?
  • Although the parties may agree to a market price it would be advisable to obtain the services of a professional appraiser to ensure that neither side is penalized.
  • Not all appraisers are equal. The appraiser must do a thorough job and if needed, support their opinion in court. Few residential appraisers have courtroom experience and many refuse to undertake a divorce action for this reason.
  • Lebow, Hicks Appraisal Services Inc. (www.lebow.ca) has been one of the leading appraisal firms in Ontario since the early 1970s that specialize in partnership division from corporate to matrimonial, from large commercial holdings to a single family home.
  • In most cases both partners obtain independent appraisers who should yield pricing within a reasonable tolerance of each other.
  • For years it was the standard that two appraisers should not be more than 5% in variance but given the high prices of today and the uniqueness of many properties, a greater tolerance is reasonable. If there is more than say a 10% variable a third appraiser may have to be retained by both parties. The third appraiser can either review the other appraisals or undertake their own independent study.
  • Once the parties have decided on a market price, one of the partners either has to buy the other out or if funds are not available or a mortgage is not obtainable, then the property has to be sold on the open market via MLS.
  • As stated about appraisers not all Realtors have the expertise to work with a divorce situation
  • It takes special skills to be impartial, to remain a neutral professional and to assist both parties to obtain the highest price.
  • The Realtor may suggest decluttering, minor repairs, staging to achieve both a sale and the highest price. The parties will have to decide to cooperate to get the property sold.
  • Barry Lebow has been assisting couples in divorces for decades and is one of the few Realtors in Canada who has earned three recognized appraisal designations.
  • TIP: If the parties are selling to each other, i.e., one is buying the other out, a reduction of about 5% is reasonable as there is no commission payable.
  • TIP: If one of the parties is over 55 check into a reverse mortgage which is not the solution for all but can be in special circumstances.

Note: The answers herein are not to be considered independent legal advice or any other advice outside of the expertise of real estate transactions solely. Any party who wants to consider an answer herein should seek independent legal or other professional advice before proceeding.

Choose a Divorce REALTOR®

Start by choosing a real estate agent who has experience working with couples who are divorcing and selling their matrimonial home. You need a professional REALTOR® who is knowledgeable about divorce and understands the law, the emotions and the needs of the parties. It is most important that this REALTOR® remain neutral and never take sides.

Choose a divorce realtor.
Barry Lebow can provide information on home appraisals and selling a home through divorce.

Read Barry's Article on Divorce

Home Appraisals & Divorce

Selling  your home during a divorce requires a home appraisal to determine a starting value for an accurate and fair division of assets. 

Your lawyers may want each side to have independent appraisals which is  good advice. 

The two appraisers should be within a reasonable tolerance and the old standard was within 5% of each other. If there is a wider disparity, a third appraiser acting for both parties may have to be retained. 

Divorce appraisals range from $500 to $1,000 depending on the house and the appraiser. Custom and more exclusive properties will have higher fees.

When selecting an appraiser, find out if that appraiser has experience in defending their work in court. Many appraisers will refuse to attend a trial as an expert. Besides the two appraisals the REALTOR® you select should undertake their own market analysis.

Keep it Professional, Not Personal

Choose a REALTOR® who has excellent communication skills, experience not only with couples but when there are children involved, and does not have a personal relationship with you. Divorce proceedings can be uncomfortable and deeply personal and having someone you are friends with represent you when all the family secrets are shared may not be in your best interest and there is the risk that they do not remain neutral if they are friends with both parties.

Keep it professional, not personal when working with a REALTOR® through divorce.
“His communication skills are top notch. I could not have had a more knowledgeable, patient and respectful professional to guide me through the process of selling my property. Barry Lebow gave us his full attention” 

–   Rosemary J

Why Choose Divorce REALTOR®  Barry Lebow 

Barry Lebow has been working with divorces and real estate for decades. A good percentage of leading Toronto divorce lawyers know of the professional reputation of Barry and his years as their appraiser of choice. Barry has acted as a REALTOR® for couples who have selected him and by court order when judges have ruled on Barry being the REALTOR® of choice.

Being a trained mediator and arbitrator has been of great benefit to Barry’s clients as he brings the skills necessary for a very intense phase of life. And on a personal level, as a divorced person, he understands the emotional and financial aspects of what people are going through.


Barry has written a book on selling a home through divorce that you can download for free.

Barry Knows Real Estate

Get in touch with Barry for answers to all your Toronto real estate questions.