The divorce process is a scary, confusing journey. When we are faced with divorce we often don't know what to do, where to find help, what kind of help we'll need, who to trust, etc. Our mind can spin in confusion and indecision about the divorce which ends up shutting us down and keeping us stuck. On today's episode I'm talking with Ryan Davies, owning and founder of Utah Divorce Solutions, real estate agent and mortgage broker who works specifically with people going through divorce to help them get the best possible outcome when it comes to the home during a divorce. Ryan opens up about Utah Divorce Solutions, a website devoted specifically to the resources you need as you go through the divorce process. Ryan talks about why he started this organization and how beneficial it will be for people going through a divorce. Ryan also offers insight into many aspects of the divorce process from his perspective of working with many clients over the years. What you'll learn in this episode:
Who is Ryan Davies and why he started Utah Divorce Solutions.
The ins and outs of the real estate and mortgage aspects of divorce.
The possibility of moms to be able to keep the home, when you should keep the home and when you shouldn't.
The importance of understanding the financial side of divorce and how to use it to your benefit.
Helpful information on the division of property specifically when it comes to the real estate aspect of divorce and how having the right people on your side will create a win-win situation for you after divorce.
The one piece of advice Ryan would offer anyone going through a divorce.
For more information about Ryan Davies and Utah Divorce Solutions click here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Welcome back to the podcast my lovelies. I am so excited to be here today sharing this podcast with you because I think it’s one you’re really going to enjoy. So I have a guest joining me on today’s podcast for the first time ever which is momentous in and of itself, but I think what’s really exciting is the topic that I’m going to be talking about with my guest. So I met my guest, Ryan Davies, a while back in a Utah based divorce group that I’m a member of on Facebook and he is the admin of that group. He knew that I was a divorce coach and so he reached out to me to kind of have a conversation about how he is working in this space of divorce to help people who are going through a divorce through this organization that he started and through, you know, his daytime job where he is a real estate agent and a mortgage broker. So he asked me to jump on a zoom with him and we had a conversation and we have had several conversations since this first meeting, but I have learned a lot of about Ryan and how he is currently helping people. We talked about how he is showing up in these new ways to provide all of these services for his clients and provide free services as well through this organization that he has started. And I thought it would be some really good, helpful, useful information for my listeners because so many of you are going through this process and thinking where do I find the resources that I truly need when it comes to going through a divorce. So I invited Ryan to come on my podcast today to talk about these topics. We had a wonderful conversation and I really love what he is doing in the divorce scene to help people. Let me just give you a quick intro of Ryan and then we’re going to dive into our conversation and you guys can just listen to the whole thing.
Ryan Davies, he is the founder/owner of Utah Divorce Solutions dot org. He is a real estate broker, a mortgage broker that specializes in divorce as well as a real estate agent. He is married. He has four boys, a dog, a cat, six ducks and eight chickens and he lives in Salt Lake County in Utah. I am so excited for you to hear our conversation so without further ado, here you go.
Karin: Hi Ryan, thank you so much for being here with me today. We’ve talked a few times before recording this podcast together so I know a little bit about you and your story but I really want my listeners to get to know you a little better and understand where you’re coming from and why you do what you do. So can you share with us a little bit about your story and how that led you to where you are today?
Ryan: Yeah, happy to. So I actually went through the divorce myself about 10 years ago and definitely it was an interesting experience. At the time there was a lot of fears that I had, a lot of anxieties and over the years I have kind of learned of ways to help other people through that. So I have been in real estate for quite some time and I have found that there are a lot of gaps when it comes to real estate and mortgage and just the whole process with divorce when it comes to that so I like sharing that with people and helping guide them through that process.
Karin: Yeah. I think that’s so important because most of the people who listen to this podcast are women and I think that that is one of the biggest things that comes up is really not knowing what to do when it comes to the family home. Right? There are so many women who are stay-at-home moms or maybe they haven’t worked for a while or don’t have a job where they feel like they make as much money as their soon to be ex or their ex and they are worried about the whole financial possibility when it comes to their mortgage, the home, real estate and all of that and it is confusing and scary.
Ryan: Oh for sure.
Karin: Yeah. And we’ll talk about that in just a minute but I know one thing that you mentioned to me previously is you have kind of been open to this idea of starting a divorce solutions website where people can just come and get all of this information in one place because it’s not really something that is out there, at least in Utah it’s not a thing and so can you talk more about this organization that you are working on ending started.
Ryan: Yeah for sure. So Utah Divorce Solutions dot org, I’m actually the founder and owner of it. It’s something that I am currently building. We almost have the website done and then we are going to push it pretty heavy. So what it does, it pretty much connects individuals to the resources they need when they are going through their divorce, whether that be attorneys, mediators, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers, life insurance agents, pretty much every single person that they need throughout the process, coaches, such as yourself, and therapists. There are so many needs for trusted resources during the process. So we are building it out. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get things going but ultimately I have a pretty big vision on it. So what it will end up being is a place that people can go get the support they need through a support group that is attached to it as well as all the resources they need.
Karin: I love this so much. I have actually seen this kind of thing in other states because I myself have searched for something and we both live in Utah and so but I’ve seen in other states and I haven’t seen it here and I am so glad that you are taking on this huge challenge but I think it’s so needed because you’re right; you know and I know and everyone listening to this podcast knows how scary and challenging it is going through a divorce and there is so much that goes into it, right. We need the lawyers and we need the therapists and the coaches and the life insurance agents and the mortgage agents and the real estate agents and so many things that we don’t even necessarily think about because most of us have never done this before. And so to be able to have this place where you can go and find all of the resources that you need all in one place I think that is going to be so beneficial to so many people out there. And not just women, of course. Both sides of the divorce, right?
Ryan: Yeah, I’m actually really excited for it. All of the services are needed and honestly just throughout the divorce process - right when you start going through your mind goes all over the place. So having to place a you can go to just narrow it down and make sure you are working with individuals that actually specialize in divorce because one thing I’ve found, it’s really common for people to look for the low hanging fruit in their business and take advantage of people in a very difficult situation and divorce, death, those type of things are one of those so my goal is to ensure that anybody that is working with us understands the divorce process in and out and is at least getting coached by me or you and learning the actual process to handle it.
Karin: Yeah. I love that too. I think you are right. So I love that you are kind of doing that vetting process as well when it comes to putting together this organizational website and I think that it is going to be so huge when it comes to helping people get through their divorce. Alright so let’s talk a little bit more about your job specifically.
Ryan: Yeah, so I’m actually a real estate broker, mortgage broker and a real estate investor. So I started investing about 10 years ago and as I was getting into investing I was buying a rental property each year and then I found, hey I actually love doing this and talking about all this so I became a real estate agent and ended up starting a team and had about 14 agents and then I got my mortgage license as well to capture some refinances and help people and one thing I noticed throughout the process I just loved helping people that were going through a divorce because I can relate, I can mediate. I can make sure everything goes smooth and that is kind of what sparked my interest into this specific niche in helping people.
Karin: Yeah, I love that. And we talked about it just a little bit earlier when I mentioned that there are so many women who are going through a divorce who really want to, if possible, be able to stay in the family home. Often they are like, I just don’t even see that as being a possibility. So when someone comes to you and they are wanting help, they have questions, is that a possibility for a woman who has been a stay-at-home mom or who maybe doesn’t make as much as her ex makes to be able to keep the house?
Ryan: Yes. And that is actually a number one fear of most of the clients who come to me that are female. It’s very common for them to be a stay-at-home mom or maybe working part-time. There is different ways that you can structure the divorce decree that meets mortgage guidelines to actually end up qualifying for the house. But one thing to be very mindful of is a lot of divorce attorneys are not familiar with what the mortgage guidelines are so they will just say you need to refinance within six months. But just one example, typically on mortgage guidelines for conventional FHA loans and all of that you need 3 to 6 months of on-time receipt of alimony and child support to even use that as income so it can actually make it to where you can’t qualify. So we come in at the beginning of the process to ensure that it is all structured the right way.
Karin: Hmm, I love that. So you - they come to you. They get all this information and it is information that they can actually take back to their lawyer if necessary and say look this is how we are structuring this and we need this in our divorce decree or something like that.
Ryan: Exactly. So..
Ryan: It’s actually really common for them to come to us and then going to their attorney, talking to the attorney and then the attorney sparking conversation with us because they definitely want to make sure they are doing it the right way.
Karin: Yeah I love that. I love that you kind of work one-on-one with the attorney as well and kind of guiding them with maybe verbiage or, I’m not really sure. I don’t speak lawyer. But the right terms and what they need to know, because that’s like you say, we all have our specialties and yours is this and the lawyer’s is something else so I love that you can work hand-in-hand with them to kind of guide them in what they need to know and the direction they need to know when it comes to the mortgage and possibly keeping it.
Ryan: For sure.
Karin: Yeah. So what are pitfalls that might come with keeping the home? Because maybe it’s not the best option, right? So what would be maybe a reason you wouldn’t want to stick with staying in the home?
Ryan: So most people want to stay in the home for the stability of the children. That’s the number one thing I’ve noticed.
Ryan: And that’s our priority anytime we are doing it. And I would hate to help somebody save the house and stay in the house when they are actually not going to be able to afford the payment. And that can actually put them in a much worse position with it to where let’s say the husband is the one that is now working and very stable and the wife decided to keep the house and isn’t able to afford the payments. They could potentially lose the house, lose the stability and then the husband can come back and potentially say hey I have more stability on my side. They just lost their house. There’s ways of kind of going about that. So really I just want to make sure that people can actually afford it. So sometimes we are coaching them into not keeping it because of that scenario.
Karin: Yeah, so you basically will sit down with your client and look at all the possibilities and then together you can decide what is going to be the best outcome for them is what it sounds like.
Ryan: Yeah. So our process starts with a strategy call. So we actually gather all of their information through an intake form that covers the real estate, the mortgage, the assets, the debts, pretty much everything to do with this finance part of it. And then we go, we pull the title reports. We see if there is any liens or judgments against the property, run comps to see the value and then we present that back to them saying hey here are your options and then from there we can guide them down the path they want to go.
Karin: Yeah I think it is so good for both parties to know what is happening when it comes to the finances because sometimes one person will know more about the finances in the marriage, right, and the other person is kind of left in the dark not really understanding what is typically happening. So I love that you can kind of lay that out for them and say this is what is going on. These are your options. Let’s decide from here.
Ryan: Yeah and we can balance different things such as let’s say they have a 401(k) that has a massive amount and they are planning on splitting that. They could reduce the amount they are wanting to get from the 401(k) to then get more alimony potentially so then they can qualify themselves.
Karin: I love it. These are so many options and I think that’s when it comes to divorce one of the most important things is just really understanding the options that are available. Alright so let’s kind of switch to the real estate aspect. What are some of the pitfalls when it comes to selling a home?
Ryan: Yeah so it kind of depends on the time of the market, you know, and what’s going on. Right now it did slow down pretty heavily with the interest rates hiking up. So the more the interest rates hike up it lowers the buyer pool which then adds more inventory to the market and slows things down. So right now, right now it’s usually better to try to sell it because it seems like we are headed into a recession. I personally feel like we are and then if things actually dip pretty heavy next year people are going to wish that they would have. But pitfalls of actually selling it in a divorce situation. Obviously if the kids are all in the same school it can uproot that. So you want to try to save it if you can. The other thing to consider is interest rates. So if you were to sell and then go buy something else you are going to have a much higher interest rate. It is very common for us to try to keep one loan intact if it’s already there against the property because it’s a low interest rate and then strategize on how to pay the ex out. So there’s tons of different ways that we can balance that.
Karin: When it comes to determining the value or how you are going to split the equity, and you mentioned this just a little bit before, but go into that little bit. What is the best way to determine how you would do that? Is it really just again sitting down and looking at everything laid out and saying okay you’re going to have this much coming in, you’re going to be getting this much from alimony and child support and this is how best to split it? Or is there a better solution when it comes to splitting that value of the house and the equity?
Ryan: So that’s a very deep question. So with splitting the value some people actually want to do the value when the divorce started. So if it was dragged out for a year. Right now some people may want to go, well I want to determine the value on what it was back in March because you cheated on me and sparked everything to happen then. So let’s use that value, not today’s value. So there’s a lot of creative ways that you can approach that, especially part of mediation. Which we do mediation preparation when it comes to the house. But determining the value, the most common question I get, or comment I get is people look on Zillow or these automated ways of determining value or they’ll have an agent run comps on the property. And in a divorce situation you typically want an appraisal because that’s going to give a much better idea. You could even do two appraisals. Both parties order an appraisal. You could balance it out. Because really an appraisal is just an opinion of value. But there’s different types of appraisals and that is what people aren’t really familiar with. So if you do a lending appraisal versus a divorce appraisal paid directly to an appraiser you can see a difference in value. So I can definitely talk in more detail about that if someone comes to me. But yeah never use Zillow. Never use realtor comps. Always use some sort of appraiser to determine the value and select when you want to value determined.
Karin: Oh I love that. I think that’s really good information to know because I think for so many people going through this situation they might think, well it’s just going to be much easier if I just got to Zillow or if I just go to this online appraiser, whatever, instead of actually getting someone out to the house to come look at it and make an opinion based off of what they are seeing, what’s included in all of that, that it goes into the appraisal. And I really like the idea of having both sides get their own and then maybe taking the average of the two. I think that is important as well.
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Ryan: Sorry, I just want to say the condition of the property matters too so getting a home inspection, let’s say you need a new roof and you’re keeping the house then you can use that as a negotiation strategy as part of your mediation to say, hey I have to spend $10,000 to replace this roof and I’m keeping the house. I want you to cover half of it. So that is a major piece and then also you would be very surprised that there are attorneys that will use Zillow and will use realtor comps to determine value. So we talk to attorneys all the time about the best way to determine it and walk them through that as well because you could pretty much get the attorney’s fees covered on the amount of money you would have lost if you used Zillow.
Karin: Yeah. And so let’s talk about that a little bit because it sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with some attorneys when it comes to teaching them about, you know, like we talked about before, writing in the words that are needed when it comes to a mortgage or figuring out those terms and then really guiding his attorneys on saying, look this isn’t the best, this isn’t going to be the best solution for your client when it comes to, you know, getting the value that they want out of the home and what is best for them. So do you have some pretty strong good relationships with divorce attorneys and do you recommend mediation over an attorney or together hand-in-hand? What kind of are you seeing when you are working with your clients?
Ryan: Yeah that’s a good question. So I always recommend attorneys or mediation and that’s just because I do think that you should always look for a win-win and you should have a professional in your corner that is going to make sure it’s structured the right way. So doing a divorce without an attorney I think is the biggest mistake you could make especially if you have children involved because the state documents from what I have noticed they are not as detailed as what an attorney is going to put together. So even if you go spend $2000 to $5000 on an attorney I think it is the best money ever spent. In regards to structuring the decree and the verbiage to put in there, I’m not an attorney so I can’t tell them exactly what to put but what I do is I actually walk them through the mortgage guidelines. So I’ll say hey this mortgage guideline states this so you want to make sure that this is covered somehow within the documents. Another good example is alimony. So alimony in order to use that income it has to continue for three years. So if they structure the decree and they put alimony is to continue for three years but then you go to refinance in six months, now it’s 2 ½ years and you cannot use your alimony anymore.
Karin: Hmm, interesting. So this is all really good information that you can work with their attorney on again when it comes to structuring their final decree.
Karin: Ryan, I think this has been super helpful and I’m really excited for when your website is up and running because again this is going to be such a great resource for so many people going through divorce in Utah and again if you are not in Utah do a quick Google search in your area because I know that there are resources like this in other states. I have seen it. And I am so excited for this to come out. So if you could just offer one take away for my listeners, whether it is from a mortgage perspective, a real estate perspective or even just self-help, something that you have learned as you have gone through this process on your own, what would you want to say to the listeners today?
Ryan: Yeah, so it wouldn’t be real estate related, mortgage or any finance related. It would be going through the divorce process for me was the thing that really was a gift. So with my ex-wife and everything that I learned through that experience allowed me to grow. I was able to dive deep into self-help. So I started reading a lot of books and it is funny because I barely even graduated high school and never read any books. But self-help books for some reason like I just grasped those. So I started reading books. I started getting help with myself. I started investing in myself. So the number one take away I would say is to hire a coach, get right on the right path so that you don’t re-create the same mistakes you made in the future and look for all the ways you can to love yourself and then that way you’ll be able to find somebody that loves you just as much as you love yourself. So Karin, I think you are a fantastic tool honestly for a lot of people whether they are male or female. I know you primarily work with the actual female community but I do think it’s good to have positive role models on the other side so with you being a female I think you’re in a good position to teach men as well what women are looking for and the opposite. Sometimes it’s good to have a male coach that can show that role model. But with you specializing in divorce for females I honestly think your service is well needed and right now is the best time to invest in yourself, during the divorce process.
Karin: Yeah I completely agree. Not just because I’m biased and I am a coach but also I just, I did the same thing with myself when I was going through my divorce. I didn’t have a coach at the time, I didn’t even know what life coaching was but I went back to my roots of self-help as well because again I agree with you, there is something when it comes to self-help books and guidance in that way that is very connecting to your soul and I think that’s what calls out to us when we are going through a divorce is we aren’t connected to ourselves in that way and we want to be. We desire it so much and so finding that help in that way is just, it’s the best thing that you can do for yourself. So finding a coach and then really grounding yourself with these resources that we’ve been talking about this whole time of getting the help in the specialized way that you need. Finding a lawyer, finding the mortgage person, finding the real estate agent, finding the life insurance person, finding those and allowing them to help you in their specialized way because we all might be doing a different job but we are all here to provide support for the person who is going through the divorce. Ryan, thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate all the information that you’ve given. I appreciate what you’re doing with this divorce, Utah Divorce Solutions dot org. Can you please tell people how to contact you if they’re interested in your services?
Ryan: Yeah so can reach out through utahdivorcesolutions.org. Right now if you go to that it will actually take you to the Facebook group that I have for people going through a divorce but eventually it will have our contact information on their. If you need to reach out to me in the meantime I am on Facebook. I am on LinkedIn. It is Ryan Davies. It is very easy to find. All of my branding has divorce related stuff on it and I’m happy to help anybody. Even if you don’t have a house or anything financial related and you just need a friend to talk to I’m always there.
Karin: I love it. And we’ll make sure and have all of your information posted in the show notes as well so that people can find you very easily. Again thank you so much for being here and sharing this wealth of information and I will talk to you soon.
Ryan: Thank you for having me, Karin. Have a good day.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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