Q: “How do you navigate selling a house when the clients are getting divorced?”

A: When sellers are getting a divorce, the way we handle their sale is to tailor our efforts to the particular circumstances of their situation.

If they are on good terms with each other, then completion of listing paperwork and pre-marketing prep can be done as a team. If they are not, then each party’s needs must be individually addressed and taken care of.

Selling a home is a stressful event for most people and those divorcing at the same time are usually experiencing additional challenges.

If necessary, and more comfortable, each seller may hire their own agent. Both listing agents will then work together to coordinate a successful sale, allowing sellers to act separately but yet as a team.

Karen Starr, the Grubb Co., 510-339-0400, ext. 224, [email protected]; Brenda Schaefer, the Grubb Co., 510-339-0400 Ext. 352, [email protected].

A: Working through a divorce takes extra care, and most importantly, extra communication. The key to any great real estate experience is your agent’s ability to listen. A great agent is one who listens and advises.

The decisions are made by the client. This is especially true in a divorce.

If the couple is not speaking to each other directly, the agent must communicate equally to both parties at all times. The agent has a fiduciary obligation of care, representation and confidentiality to both sellers.

Being able to share what is required while keeping each party’s confidence comes back to the agent’s skill in listening.

All sellers want to be heard, understood and cared for, and often in a divorce clients’ emotions run high. Not only are we dealing with one of the seller’s most important life investments, but we are facilitating the separation of a home and life often built together over time.

Our primary objective is always to negotiate the highest possible price for your home. Helping the client to create ease in their life during the process is important as well. In order to navigate a successful divorce transaction, our team strives for trust, care, empathy, fairness and most importantly, the ability to listen.

Bernie Katzmann, Vanguard Properties, (415) 906-6000, [email protected]; Mike Shaw, Vanguard Properties, (415) 308-4281, [email protected].

A: This question speaks to the confidentiality that Realtors must maintain for ALL their clients. We are privy to many of life’s positive and, sadly, negative issues that they must deal with. These circumstances require special care and attention in maintaining trust by not divulging information that could harm the parties involved.

Over the years clients have shared with me heartbreaking stories of financial woes, severe illnesses, death and yes, relationship dissolutions. I once had clients who married and divorced during a 90-day period when they bought and then abruptly sold their home.

Having that condensed version of bliss to heartache was a painful process to witness but it was imperative for me to maintain my neutrality for the sake of all parties. We all worked hard to keep things civil even though the deterioration and anguish was palpable.

Our fiduciary responsibility to our clients is of the utmost importance. We must take that duty seriously. It is our ethical and moral obligation to maintain confidentiality.

Jill Gumina, Compass, 415-265-1717, [email protected].