Relocate to Wisconsin : Our First Divorce Transaction.....was almost the last !

Our First Divorce Transaction.....was almost the last !

  A  dear friend of ours who works in a different area of divorce had just been introduced to us.  Another friend was getting divorced....and he suggested that we talk with this now friend as a prospective referral source.  We  were not really looking at divorce as a "niche" at that time...but rather just adding this gentleman to our list of resources....and perhaps he may be able to refer a person or two to us to list their home.

  divorcing couple   It was very cold and I remember snow falling and hoping we would be able to park near the office which was quite near the lake and wind and snow were whipping around pedestrians who ventured thru the business district.  We brought a folder with our information and business cards and  learned of his business experience and he of ours.  He explained that not all divorces were "traditional" and involved litigation ...there was also something we were not aware of called "Collaborative Divorce." CFLCW Logo This process was a peaceful, common sense the disolution of a marriage..  Couples agree to disagree. It is not as some people may imagine...there is anger and hurt as there would be naturally in this process...but the resolution is done with dignity and with "rules" involving other social workers and financial advisors who work as a team for the best possible resolution emotionally and financially for the divorcing couple.  Our new friend was an officer of this organization and said that they were considring a category of membership called " Affiliate Members."   The Affliliate members were required to attend a training session and become more knowledgable about the process. We elected to attend the training...become the first affliate members and as the years went on....sponsored events and participated in the organization.
     The members of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin (CFLCW ) , also of course practice traditional divorce with more contentious couples and we are trained to work with both types.

       The first couple referred to us in addition to getting divorce, was also upside down in a house that they had just built...the landscaping not quite

complete....a large home with a country setting and a longer than usual commute for most people in the area.  The design was well done ...very contemporary and we toured the home with the "almost ex" wife and took copious notes as she explained the custom design on our tour.

  listing contract    In Wisconsin, you only legally need one signature of a divorcing couple on a listing contract.  We decided from the beginning of our eventually to be "niche" in divorce  that we would only work with couples who had both signed the lisiing contract.  This makes logical sense to us because both parties have to sign the offer and need to agree to all the terms of the contract.   On that basis, we proceeded to explain this "practice" as though we had done it a zillion timupside down housees to Mrs. Seller and she understood and signed all of the paperwork necessary to list the property.  We knew from the beginning that this would be a short sale and explained to her what that involved and left her our folder of information and invited her to call or email at anytime if she had questions. We had done short sales....taken training in both Florida and Illinois and were confident that closing would not be an issue....if we could just get thru the divorce part of the transaction.

     On to meeting Mr. Seller and explaining the short sale process, having him sign all the  paperwork and getting the home listed.   When he was presented with the listing contract alreaady signed by the not soon enough to be EX Mrs. Seller...the anger surfaced....and in a loud voice he said,  "She signed on the top line of the contract just to off.... I am not signing the same contract she signs !"    Oh for joy.....or not....! Yes this as a luxury listing...we had grand plans to showcase it with a custom marketing plan...whewbut this could make things difficult.   Fortunately....what is also that each person in the transaction....Sellers or Buyers need not sign the same contract...they just must sign IDENTICAL contracts. 

   Like good scouts...we were prepared and had another blank contract we could complete so he could sign his own identical listing on whichever line he chose.  

   The coin the cliche is ....history....hundreds of divorce related transactions later....we are practicing in a niche in which we continue to learn with every transaction....and wish for each member of the couple that they will find their happily ever after and that we are honored to be of service for that transaction as well. 


Sally K. & David L. Hanson, ABR, CDPE, CSS, e-Pro,ILHM, REDS

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Comment balloon 32 commentsSally K. & David L. Hanson • October 14 2016 01:09AM


Every different group of people deserves helpful REALTORS.

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900!) over 1 year ago

Wow, the learning child is the LEARNING child for parents!  And that was quite the transaction!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Very unique niche Sally and David, and I know that your success shines with every new transaction!

Posted by Lawrence "Larry" & Sheila Agranoff. Cell: 631-805-4400, Long Island Condo & Home Sale Specialists (The Top Team @ Charles Rutenberg Realty 255 Executive Dr, Plainview NY 11803) over 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing your story. You are now the experst on such transactions .

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 1 year ago

Sally and David, you two have a fascinating niche.  I've handled many transactions (including my very first listing) where couples were divorcing, and now I'm thinking the process would have been much better if I'd had training in many of the pitfalls.  

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Good morning Sally and David. I always learn from you and this is a terrific example of how you do your thing.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 1 year ago

Hi Sally K. & David L. Hanson - I really like that you get both sellers to sign the contract.  They each have skin in the game.  I bet you could write a book on this and make it really interesting to read.  

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 1 year ago

Good morning, Sally and David --- an interesting first experience on what has been a very successful journey even when confronted with some potentially rough waters.   Good post and I agree with Sheri Sperry - MCNE -- I bet there is book on your niche waiting to be written by you.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 1 year ago

This segment of the market takes lots of patience and skill to not be drawn into the fray. You are the masters and can provide excellent service for couples going through this difficult time.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) over 1 year ago

What a brilliant move, Sally. Of course, separate contracts. What a perfect solution! I'll keep that one in my arsenal should the need arise, and it very well could.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Sally and David- your niche continues to fascinate me.  Your knowledge in the area is invaluable. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 1 year ago

Divorce sales are tricky as parties are wearing their feelings on their sleeves, but will rarely admit it.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 1 year ago

I did not have the pleasure of handling many divorce sales, but one that my office handled stands out in memory. We got down to the closing and the pair got in a fight over a painting. She had taken it and he said it was his. He wouldn't sign unless she returned it. She wouldn't return it unless he signed. 

The standoff ended when we convinced them to allow the closing attorney to hold the painting until the closing was complete. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 1 year ago

Good morning Sally and David.  I think you were the perfect ones to handle this couple and were wise with the listing contract situation.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 1 year ago

So interesting Sally ...especially that only one has to sign the listing agreement...not here which makes it doubly hard...but you do know best in WI for divorcing the Sally & David team!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 1 year ago

It's just a ridiculous part of doing business with people who turn into toddlers.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 1 year ago

Unfortunately, divorce is a major source of business. I handled one for a couple who were both old friends. I got through it by talking to both and siding with neither.

Posted by Ron Barnes, "Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1! (Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties) over 1 year ago

very interesting niche - I am going to look into whether that group works in Maryland or DC. Thanks for the heads up! It would be a good match for me with my background as a lawyer.

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 1 year ago

Divorce was never meant to be. Now that we made it so, it remains challenging work until it comes to a close physically. The diffrent states of mind follow & each person gets over it when they do. Healing is subjective. Sad state for all

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing your experience so we can all learn from it

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 1 year ago

There is some Lead Generation Co. who shows up on my FB wall almost everyday promising 15-20 Divorced  Client Listings PER MONTH !!! An agent would go crazy !!!

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 1 year ago

Sally and David

That was cetainly an interesting way to get started on what has become a successful niche for you. You could write the book on this I bet! Lots of good learning here, should the occasion arise to work with a divorcing couple.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 1 year ago

Grea job with that Niche!!!

We continue to learn with every transaction....and wish for each member of the couple that they will find their happily ever after and that we are honored to be of service for that transaction as well. 

Posted by Sham Reddy, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing.  My sister when shen went through a divorce without ever using a realtor. They decided on who gets what. Took a few blank grant deeds by pass the title company and went to recorders office. Notary was signed at their bank no charge. Recording was done-$25 a house at county bldg.  


Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 1 year ago

That was one heck of an initiation to a transaction with a couple getting a divorce. It is interesting to note though that married and unmarried couples also do a little dance around the lines they sign on. Men automatically sign on the top line. If a woman signs first, they often ask which line they should sign on. Albeit of course, in those cases nobody is actually refusing to sign because of the placement of the other signature!

Posted by Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices (Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268) over 1 year ago

Ha ha not a surprise at all about the signature placement. I have had that happen to me where the wife signed the top and hubby was mad because they were in process of divorce and were already separated.  Great post!

Posted by Stella Barbour, Principal Broker, Serving Virginia and Maryland (NoVa Brokers LLC) over 1 year ago

Good Morning Sally and David - it does take a certain skill to deal with emotional roller coaster and I am sure you have it.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) over 1 year ago

I have worked with two divorce couples. Both ended badly. The first one, the ex husband had the neighbors call and tell him whenever there was a showing. He in turn would come and in curse and intimidate the potential buyers. The second the husband would not sign the listing so the judge had a Realtor from 80 miles away list the home. Eighty miles.... he must have known that agent.

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) over 1 year ago

My first divorce transaction had the wife who moved out on teh husband, come back just before closing and threw all the husbands things on the front lawn. It went down hill from there Sally K. & David L. Hanson 

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 1 year ago

Great start for your niche, Sally & David!  And, like Elizabeth, I love the idea of the dual contracts!  Smart move!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 1 year ago

Sally K. & David L. Hanson what a great story.

You carved out your "Niche" on the first transaction.

Posted by Noah Seidenberg, Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917 (Coldwell Banker) over 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing your experience and story about this Sally and David.

It is a perhaps difficult market niche and one you consider it very carefully. 

Posted by Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR, Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations (AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group) over 1 year ago