Divorcing homeowners offer a unique opportunity to the right agent willing to put in the work to list them.
A divorce agent needs to be compassionate enough to help his or her clients through a difficult situation and impartial enough not to favor either party over the other.
If you can successfully sell the original home, these listings can also lead to multiple other deals. And if you handle them correctly, you can establish yourself as the go-to agent for divorcing couples in your area.
Rozalyn Franklin spent 30 years working for AT&T before she made the leap to a real estate career.
“It was in the midst of the — during the downturn in the market. So short sales were needed,” Rozalyn says. “So I did close hundreds of short sales in South Carolina and saved lots of people from foreclosure.”
While she was working with short sales, Rozalyn realized a lot of the people she was helping were actually divorcing couples.
“So that's when I started going into the divorce because I wanted to approach those people differently than I approach the short sale.”
Like Ed, Rozalyn partners with divorce attorneys. But she also goes a step further and partners with financial analysts.
“Some people go to them first before they hit the attorney, especially if it's an amicable divorce and they can try to save their credit — they go to a financial analyst. So I partner with those, as well.”
Rozalyn has established herself as the go-to divorce agent in her area. She even writes magazine pieces for local publications about selling real estate during a divorce.
“So I just put myself out there as somebody to contact before you get a divorce,” Rozalyn says.
When she’s forming relationships with attorneys and financial analysts, Rozalyn leaves behind helpful materials and encourages both parties to give them to their clients.
“I send them articles and I send them information on how they can guide your clients."
About every six months, one of Rozalyn’s partner attorneys holds divorce clinics. Rozalyn provides insights during the real estate portion of the presentation.
“So when they're doing a divorce clinic, I'm the real estate expert,” Rozalyn says.
“They've been pretty good. My attendance has been a little bit down, but now it's a little bit hard because of the COVID-19, but hopefully we'll be able to get back in it. And I think we're going to start trying to do it on a Zoom call so that we don't all have to be sitting.”
Rozalyn says the most important part of working with divorcing couples is trying to understand and relate to whatever phase of the divorce they’re currently in.
“Every reaction is different,” Rozalyn says. “A lot of them are really mad, then there's airing grievances. So we go through all of these processes and it depends on what stage that person is when they come into the clinic.”
Both parties must feel equally represented and heard in any decisions pertaining to the sale.
“It's an art,” Rozalyn says. “So you have to be able to maneuver it because I really don't have any interests in making sure that one person gets more than the other. That's really not my thing — that's the court's thing, the attorney's thing, your financial thing. My thing is to sell a house and get them the most amount of money so that they can walk away. And so they gotta realize that's the only — that's my only objective.”
While most of her listings come directly from partnering with the attorneys and financial analysts, Rozalyn is also contacted directly by divorcing couples who see her published magazine articles and the information she shares on her Facebook page.
“They'll call me and say, ‘I'm getting a divorce and I need to sell my house,’” Rozalyn says. “Then I can refer them to the attorney or the financial person that they need to talk to. And I go from there.”
But of course, divorcing couples don’t always agree on the decision to hire her.
“And then I have to refer them back to the attorney and tell him, ‘Look, you know, you need to talk to your attorney and tell him that you want to do that because sometimes it's easier when stuff's on paper, then you know, who's responsible for what? It takes some of the emotional turmoil out of it because now it's written down on a piece of paper. So some of those I have to refer back.”
Rozalyn makes sure to leave all legal advice to the attorneys and focuses solely on selling the home. That’s why it’s crucial for her to form positive relationships with the attorneys so she can reach out to them when potential legal issues arise.
“So it just makes it a little bit easier because a lot of times it's a thin line about what I'm telling them — what's legal, real estate and what I cannot say. So it works out pretty good.”
Specialized Divorce Training
Before she got involved in the divorce niche, Rozalyn took a course on selling divorce homes.
“I went to Laura Starks. I took Laura Stark's course in divorce real estate,” Rozalyn says. “But if you're going to start into the divorce sector and you want to target divorce people, you gotta partner with attorneys, you gotta partner with other divorce specialists.”
Rozalyn says agents interested in the divorce niche must understand the process of selling a divorce home is different than listing a traditional home.
“You can't attack it the same way,” she says. “So the more you educate yourself on how to handle those clients, the better that you will be with them.”
Rozalyn also aims to simplify the process for any attorneys she partners with.
“Being able to show them what they need to do with the house and how much it's actually worth takes a weight off the attorney’s shoulders.”