More often than not, a divorce- motivated house sale will produce less than a fair market value simply because emotion gets in the way of good business sense. The selling agent generally must negotiate each item of the contract twice, usually in two different places, with two people having different goals and, sometimes, openly hostile with each other. Here are some tips:

Make an effort to come to some rational agreements early in your listing contract. In the presence of your lawyers (but not the real estate agent) discuss what price you both could accept on the house. A professional appraisal is a good starting point for arriving at a fair market value. Its cost can also be deducted from the profit when you file your income tax return. When you do agree on a rock-bottom figure, try to agree on what property will remain and how soon you would like to close. Working out these points before a buyer appears will save much emotional agony and lost money.