Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

Celebrity Divorces Force Stars to Sell Property Cheap and Fast

So you want to buy the bittersweet memories of your favorite celebrity couple? No problem.

Although you might think that a celebrity split would be good for a realtor's business, it turns out that is not quite right. "We've noticed a number of celebrity homes linger on the market and even get their price slashed or sell below asking price," writes Lisa Davis of realtor.com.

Going Nowhere Fast

Unhampered by the financial concerns of mere mortals, divorcing celebrities are in a hurry to move on. They want to sell fast so as to escape the emotional weight of a home that reminds them of a love story gone awry.

That is the very reason why buyers do not flock. "It's not a product; it's a home filled with feelings and memories, and that requires more patience and understanding," realtor Susan Smith says.

Nobody wants a piece of an acrimonious split and buying a home is more emotional than other purchases. Many would-be homeowners who are looking to make a fresh, new start and a happy life respond negatively, consciously or unconsciously, to the notion of buying into bad fairy tales.

Sample Homes for Sale

Some celebrity homes that realtors did struggle or are struggling to offload:

  • Robin Williams' $22.9 million Sonoma property, which has been part of an estate feud between the deceased actor's children and his widow, is still on the market.

  • Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith sold their home for nearly 16 million dollars this year, splitting up after an 18-year marriage.

  • Drew Barrymore divorced her husband after a year in 2013. Their house sold for 6.35 million, which is 1.15 million dollars less than they sought.

Splitting the Difference

Divorce laws vary from state to state. Nine states follow the law of community property, and division of assets in these places is quite complicated. Regardless, wherever a couple is divorcing and selling a home, it is best not to try to do it alone.

Consult with counsel. An attorney can be businesslike about business that is very personal and emotional to a client, which is why realtors joke "for every LA divorce, there is a lawyer and a real estate agent on speed dial."

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