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Selling A Home In A Divorce: Strategies For Navigating The Process

Brett Godfrey

Brett Godfrey is the Marketing Manager for the JanusGroup at RE/MAX Integrity, a real estate team where he crafts compelling stories that sell homes, ...

Brett Godfrey is the Marketing Manager for the JanusGroup at RE/MAX Integrity, a real estate team where he crafts compelling stories that sell homes, ...

Apr 14 17 minutes read

Behind The Scenes Episode 4

Selling A Home In A Divorce: Strategies For Navigating The Process

Behind The Scenes S1E04 - Selling A Home In A Divorce: Strategies For Navigating The Process

In this video, we're going to take a deep dive into strategies for navigating the process of selling a home during a divorce, including how to help children impacted by the challenge of the move. Aaron Janus, Seattle Realtor, discusses this topic with Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) expert Sandra Vesterstein.

Sandra Vesterstein is the founder and CEO of Thrive Learning Collective. Thrive Learning Collective guides individuals, groups, and corporations to walk the path of success through heart-centered programs that connect life purpose with passion. If you are curious about learning more about NLP, please go to

Below is a rough transcript of the video, which consists of a conversation between Seattle Realtor Aaron Janus and NLP expert Sandra Vesterstein.

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Video Transcript

Aaron Janus, Seattle Realtor:

As Realtors, we're often tasked with having to navigate some very difficult life transitions with our clients. Divorce may be the most challenging of those. On today's show, we are going to bring in an expert and chat about some strategies to help us navigate this journey more effectively.

It's no surprise that many realtors play several roles during this emotional process of purchasing and selling homes. Among many other things, we're mediators, therapists, sounding boards, punching bags, even. Oftentimes this is a light, fun process. In some circumstances, it's a bit heavier. So that's why today, we'll be talking about strategies to help us navigate a more challenging process. So, let's jump straight into this very special episode.

Today we have a great pleasure of speaking with Sandra Vesterstein, head coach and owner of Thrive Learning Collective in Sedona, Arizona. Sandra is a life and business coach and a master trainer and practitioner of Neural- Linguistic Programming, also known as NLP, and hypnotherapy.

She has a passion for bringing people together whether at home or at work and helping people achieve their goals, so they can experience positive change in their life. Sandra thank you so much for joining us today.

Sandra Vesterstein, CEO and Founder of Thrive Learning Collective:

Thanks, Aaron for having me. It has been such a pleasure to work with you and your team and to be able to witness such a powerful effect that -- coming from your heart, running a heart-based business has had on all of you. I'm really excited to be here.

Aaron: Well, thank you again and I'm very excited to have you here today. Why don't we jump straight in?

Sandra: Sounds good.

Aaron: So Sandra over the years we've dealt with you know, many challenging situations, some more challenging than others. I thought it would be really valuable if you could share with us and share with the folks out there some strategies to most effectively deal with and work through these types of situations.

Sandra: Sure. I mean, here's the deal. Selling a home can be challenging in and of itself and then you add divorce separation and it just escalates the stress and so what I recommend people do when they're in that situation is they really focus on what they want to attain. What's the ultimate outcome for them and for their family and so that requires us a little bit to get out of ourselves to think of the greater good. Unfortunately, what happens when we're really stressed out is our sympathetic nervous system gets turned on and we fail to see options because options aren't in that nervous system when that's operating because it's the fight-or-flight nervous system. So the best thing you can do is calm yourself down through deep breathing meditation, something like that, going for a walk and then taking the time to write down what is it what's the outcome that you truly want and when you get clear on that both parties are going to have to align their outcomes with each other and come to a mutual agreement.

Aaron: So Sandra what happens in the event that there's a lot of animosities. It's still really raw. There's just not a lot of goodwill that is bringing these people together to share in a united outcome. Or maybe the outcome could be different, maybe they're looking for different outcomes. What's sort of strategies can be used in that case?

Sandra: That's right and you know, unfortunately in divorce the reason why people a lot of times are getting divorces that they can't agree to disagree, you know. So in even in that situation, I think that it's really important to keep centered and realize that the only person you are going to hurt is yourself if you're making decisions based on anger and resentment. And so I again, I just really suggest that people take the time to settle themselves and really check in with their intention of what the outcome is that they want to attain. And when they do that, you know, most people when they settle themselves down make different decisions. Always my mantra is, as far as decision-making is concerned, the quality of our decisions are based on the quality of emotions that we are running, and so if you have poor quality emotions such as jealousy, resentment, anger, fear, then your decisions are going to be made from that point and they're typically not very good decisions. So my recommendation is to settle yourself in whatever way that you find effective. One of my favorite ways is a breath technique where you breathe in for the count of seven and you hold it and then you exhale to the count of 11. It's called the 711 breath and it's beautiful because it calms everything down and you're going to find solutions when your nervous system calms down, versus when you're all ratcheted up with stress.

Aaron: Basically calm down the nervous system. Get centered come up with a what sort of outcome you're looking for and really just get clear and focused on that outcome.

Sandra: Right, and then stick to it. And so when other things start, you know, coming up in conversation with your soon-to-be-ex, you just kind of let it go. Let it go because it's not going to serve you in the end.

Aaron: Wonderful. All right, thank you for that Sandra. So, Sandra talk to us about a strategy for communication. You know, oftentimes we have going through a transaction like this we have to all be together, we have to have a conversation, we have to be communicating. What is a strategy for folks to sort of get their heads straight when they know they have to go into a meeting where they're going to see their spouse, or soon-to-be-ex-spouse?

Sandra: Well, the second strategy really complements the first strategy. It's getting clear on your outcome. And then the second strategy is really choosing your emotions rather than excusing your behavior. So our emotions lead us to behave in a certain way. I know that we've all had this experience when we've been in a situation that's been particularly stressful and maybe we haven't acted our best and then afterwards we look back and we like: oh my god, why did I do that?

Well, the reason why you did that is that you had an automatic response, and you responded in an emotion that wasn't really serving you to get the best outcome. And so what I coach people on is learning how to determine what is the most powerful emotion to have in this particular situation so that we can honor the outcome that we truly want.

So if I'm coming into a situation where I'm feeling anxious and nervous I'm going make decisions from that emotion and they're not going to be good, as we talked about before. Say they have to go and meet with their soon-to-be ex, and to take the time to say, "okay, what emotions and feelings would be useful to have while meeting with my soon-to-be-ex?" and once they get clear on that, typically people are going to pick well. I want to feel confident, and I want to feel secure, I want to feel safe. So then I tell them: just remember a time that you had those feelings, an experience where you felt that security, and you were feeling safe and you were feeling confident. And as soon as you remember that experience, what happens? Our body starts having all those emotions flow through us, and we behave in a different way. And that behavior is much more aligned to getting that positive outcome that you've already determined you want to have. So it's very helpful to learn to choose your emotions that are going to be going to be most useful in the situation, so that you don't have to excuse your behavior and you can feel really proud of yourself and how you handle something.

Aaron: I love that. I think you said choose your emotions and what was the line again? Choose your emotions...

Sandra: So you don't have to excuse your behavior.

Aaron: Yeah, that's really fantastic.

Sandra: Once you choose those positive emotions, those useful emotions. I shouldn't say positive, because emotions are just emotions. Emotions are the chemicals that are floating through our body, which we call feelings and so it's really important to get yourself aligned so that you can make really positive decisions for yourself and you know, a lot of times there are going to be people in a situation that it's not just about the husband and wife getting divorced. There are kids involved and so to make the best possible decisions for everyone involved, I think it is really important. And you can't do that running insecurity, or fear, or hate, or anger, it just doesn't work that way.

Aaron: So Sandra you mentioned children and that reminded me of a conversation we had a while back when I was working through a more challenging transaction and there were several kids involved. And I remember you saying something about the children taking the parents' lead. What did you mean by that?

Sandra: Well, you know children are always going to take the lead of their parents. Of however the parent frames up the experience. And you know for parents out there that have had small children and they've hurt themselves, skinned their knee or similar, and you're like, "oh my gosh what happened?" and you feel so bad for them, versus like, oh jeez, you fell, but you're okay. And the difference between those two responses when you're dealing with the little one is when you tell them they're gonna be okay, more often than not they forget about even why they were crying. Well, that's the same that goes through a child's mind when they're going through a stressful situation such as divorce. I mean kids don't have a lot of control over this. So parents can actually frame up how the experience is going to be for them. And so, you know, when we're talking about the other strategies, you know, getting clear on the outcome, choosing your emotions. Well, framing up the experience for your children can have a very positive effect on them. So, taking the time to say, you know, it's not like you're going to deny that this is stressful or it's sad. You just don't have to get stuck in the stress and sadness of the moment. And so for you to take the time and preferably, both the mom and dad, can sit down with the child(ren) to map out how the experience is going to be. And I know when working with families, when parents do that, when they set aside their personal dislikes of each other, and they really focus on what's best for the kids, and they frame that up that way, yes it's going to be different. However, Mommy and Daddy still love you and we're going to make sure that we're were there for you and the last thing that you need to think about is, you know, finding a new home or what that's going to be like because whatever we find, we're going to make it our new home. And so, I really think that's a powerful technique to use with children and actually it's powerful with the parents as well, because also, when they start framing things up in the positive for the kids, guess what happens? They start thinking in a positive way, right?

Aaron: Sandra, thank you so much for sharing these strategies with us today. As we wrap things up, you know, when we get started with this process of selling a home during a divorce for our clients. It's hard to sort of zoom out and say, "you know, what? A couple of months down the road, things are going to look much better much brighter. There's a brighter future out there." It's hard to do that, and it's certainly not my place as their Realtor to share that sort of thing with that, right? But I know in following up with people months later, years later that you know, it's really true. Like we say, you know one door shuts and another door opens. So is there anything that you could leave us with today that you know might give hope to folks that are really sort of at the bottom or the beginning, they're just scared of the uncertainty and all those things. Is there anything that might help people not be overwhelmed with this and realize that yes this too shall pass?

Sandra: Well, it's true. This too shall pass. Our perception of what's happening is really assigning the meaning to what's happening in a situation. And so, you know change can be hard for anyone and it's particularly hard when you're at odds with another person and you don't know how to settle yourself. You talk about having hope for the future. Unfortunately, stress, chronic stress or it being at angst with your soon-to-be-ex. That feeling, does not, it's not congruent with having hope. So we have to kind of muscle it in ways during these times and so we have to actually go back to that, you know, number one strategy. It is to focus on the outcome that you want to achieve. Get yourself focused on what is going to be the end result. You call it hope. I say go ahead and create a scenario of what your life is going to be like after this is all settled. And make it a good story because, reality is, it's all a story. So make it a good story. How are you going to be in this new life? Allow yourself, your neurology, your physiology, your emotions, all that, to follow through on that outcome. And then choose your emotions rather than excuse your behavior. It's really that simple. We just make it hard. So, I would encourage you just to take a step back and almost you know, we talk about having a bird's eye view, if you were actually to float out and view your life from a different perspective, from a wide-angle perspective, you could see that you could make different choices that would actually be more aligned to the outcome that you want to achieve. By practicing that, not getting so stuck in the emotion of the moment and saying, "you know what? This is not serving me." And particularly when there are kids involved. I can't stress enough how important it is for a parent to leave their disagreements with the other parent behind and really focus on what's going to be the best for our kids, or our child, that we have because you know, ultimately, you want to be able to look back at your past and know that you did the best you could and knowing what you know, now learning how to choose your emotions rather than excuse your behavior. You don't allow yourself to not know that anymore. Make the positive choice, make it so that your children can weather this challenge, weather this storm so that they can become better human beings and it all starts with you as parents and how you frame up the situation. So, I'm all about giving people more choices in life and in order to have more choices you have to think on purpose. You've got to choose your thoughts so that they ignite different emotions and if you are in emotions that are not useful, feelings that are not useful, then stop yourself and ask yourself "what would I rather feel? What feeling would be more useful?" And then go remember a time that you had it and then you'll notice that you'll start behaving in different ways. I want you to remember one thing, if you take this one nugget of wisdom out of this whole interview, it is that the quality of our decisions are based on the quality of emotions that we're running. Choose emotions that are useful. That would be my suggestion.

Aaron: Well, thank you, again, from the bottom of my heart. If you would like to learn more about Sandra and what she does, please check out the information below, you can learn more and contact her.
And as always thank you so much for joining us on Behind The Scenes, and we look forward to seeing you next time, thank you.

House Goals Realized. JanusGroup at RE/MAX Integrity.
It's a tooth.

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See more videos in the Behind The Scenes series!


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