Divorce Literacy Podcast

Interview with Wendy Dabrusin, CDLP and Ronda Ross, Divorce Real Estate Professional

May 17, 2023 Divorce Lending Association
Divorce Literacy Podcast
Interview with Wendy Dabrusin, CDLP and Ronda Ross, Divorce Real Estate Professional
Show Notes Transcript

Join Wendy Dabrusin, Certified Divorce Lending Professional, as she interviews Ronda Ross, a divorce real estate professional in Houston and Dallas, Texas.

A neutral approach to working with divorcing homeowners needing help selling their homes during divorce. 


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At the Divorce Lending Association, our mission is to help divorcing homeowners make more informed decisions regarding their home equity solutions and the divorce team identify any potential conflicts between the divorce settlment, the mortgage, and real property.

Divorce Mortgage Planning is the ability to put into play the desired outcome by pairing the needs and options available while incorporating the necessary details and clarity into an executable settlement agreement to obtain closure and peace of mind successfully.

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Visit the Divorce Lending Association for resources and strategies on divorce mortgage planning.

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Hello. I am here with Rhonda Ross with Texas Living Company. She is a certified divorce real estate expert, and came on here to talk about what she does and how she helps divorcing homeowners and their divorce team. So Rhonda, can you tell us a little bit about your background and knowledge and you know, what how you helped divorcing clients in their divorce team?

Speaker 2 (00:31):

Of course. So I have been in real estate for a little under 12 years, and during that time I have witnessed friends and personally have gone through a divorce and saw some confusion within real property. So it made me really reach out and find out the best way that I can help other divorcing couples. I found a great trainer. She is actually an attorney who teaches at Harvard. And she was unbelievably helpful when it came to setting me up for success to help other people get through divorce as smoothly as possible with the factor that I'm just trying to protect the client, the house and their credit eligibility to buy in the future.

Speaker 1 (01:12):

Okay, that sounds great. How long have you been focusing on family law and, and working with divorcing homeowners?

Speaker 2 (01:21):

I would say roughly six years. I've lost some years of my life during Covid, so I'm not quite sure. <Laugh>

Speaker 2 (01:30):

We all, so I'm, everyone always asks me how many years and I'm like, I honestly don't know what year are we in today? Right,

Speaker 1 (01:35):


Speaker 2 (01:36):

But I wanna say roughly six years, that's, that's when I did my first really big case. And that one took about nine months.

Speaker 1 (01:43):

Okay. And so you decided to focus on family law mainly because I mean you kind of said it before where you went through a divorce yourself and realized there was a lot of missing pieces in there. Can you expand on that a little bit?

Speaker 2 (01:58):

Yeah, so for me mine was very easy. I'm very lucky. But for other people that I saw go through it there was a lot of confusion about who could afford the house if someone wanted to have it. I've seen it where the court order was to provide the house to one of the spouses. They couldn't afford it. They actually ended up going bankrupt or selling for a loss just because of emotional attachment to it. When I come in, it is very neutral. There is no emotional attachment to it. It's really, I'm gonna do what's best for both parties as well as what's best for the house. I always tell everyone my client is the house, whether that's to help them keep it or to sell it. It's really, I'm very neutral to both parties. I'm gonna do what's best for everybody.

Speaker 1 (02:37):

Yeah. And that's important, especially if it's, you know, contentious and you know, people aren't getting along and you just kind of have to play middle of the road and kind of keep everything together and you know, everyone happy. I'm sure that can be a challenge. So I know that each divorce is unique and everyone involved goes through their own journey through the process. If, if you could change anything or give a heads up advice to someone just starting down this path, what would that be?

Speaker 2 (03:08):

For me it's really understanding. So what I've seen a lot is that one person knows everything that's going on with the home and the other person doesn't. I think it's important that both parties are fully educated and knowledgeable on all aspects of the real property, whether that be the type of liens, what title looks like the functionality of the house, the cost of upkeep up the house is very big. I think that is the number one thing that I see when I go and talk to both parties separately or together is it's very heavily work or knowledgeable just on one side, not both sides.

Speaker 1 (03:43):

Yeah. So that, you know, like getting, so I, what I've experienced is a lot of people who are like, they'll call me and I'll like, okay, what's your mortgage balance? How much do you owe? They're like, I don't know. No, I don't. I'm like, do you get a statement? Well, it goes to my husband and, and what's the value? And that's another thing I wanted to bring up too, that just kind of off top or not off topic, I'm off my list of questions, but you know, what's the value? Every single person said, well, Zillow says, and I, you really need to get a C D R E involved. Or, you know, a licensed appraisal, someone appraiser someone to come in and tell you what the true value is. Zillow is just basically like, I don't know, going to the appraisal district or something. They don't have all the details of your house. They have not been in your house. So that's,

Speaker 2 (04:31):

And we're, we're a non-disclosure state, so we're one of 12 non-disclosure states. And a lot of people don't realize that that's something I educate all my clients on. Yeah. Whether they're going through divorce or not is, you know, we don't disclose the sales price. That's why when you go and look on hearts, it gives you a range. Yeah. And Zillow and all these other, you know, external companies are just picking a random number in the middle and saying, okay, this is what we think it's sold for.

Speaker 1 (04:52):

Yeah, exactly. And so that's, that's one of the first steps I tell them. Let's, let's figure out what the value is first. And you brought up a good point because I don't think we brought that up. The non-disclosure state, we are in Texas because our podcast is nationwide. So when we say non-disclosure state, can you kind of explain that, what that means?

Speaker 2 (05:15):

So it's just that we don't disclose the sales price. It's something that stays within the transaction. A lot of states, I'm assuming disclose it everywhere. We just, we don't, we do not do that. So I tell my clients, anytime you close on a property, yeah, you're gonna receive probably, you know, 50 pieces of mail all telling you that you have to disclose your sales price. I'll tell 'em absolutely do not do it. Right. It's not a requirement. The only time you wanna do it is if the appraisal district comes back at a significantly higher value than what you actually purchased your house for. Then at that case, yes, you wanna take that title commitment and go fight it, but other than that, it's not necessary and it's, you know, in any, in any way, shape or form.

Speaker 1 (05:53):

Right. Okay. So can you tell me what would you recommend for someone who's looking and what to look for when they're selecting a real estate agent?

Speaker 2 (06:06):

I think having someone who truly understands the process of working with attorneys, judges, the divorce process, and who is going to be absolutely neutral during the process. It is a very different transaction when it comes to communication knowledge, time, effort when it comes to divorce. So there's many a times where I have to go to court and and be the neutral party and be questioned and understanding that is huge. I think communication is another big thing. It, you know, some, some are very nice amicable divorces and some are not. Right. So it just depends. And if they're not, you have to know there's a completely different way to communicate with the parties Yeah. And how that's done so that way everyone can get to the end goal and it's, you know, trying to make it so it's not, you know, dragging out as long as what some of them do when there are not designated people in place to help with the process.

Speaker 1 (07:07):

Very good. So do you have a one memorable case that you've worked on? And if so what impacted you the most out of it?

Speaker 2 (07:18):

They've all been very memorable in their own way. I had one in particular that I would say I worked on, it was probably the toughest case I've ever been on. I actually, what it seemed to be at the courthouse more than I've ever thought I would be in my life. But what it really taught me is the importance of communication and knowing how to communicate with each party as well as each attorney. It really gave me that focus and prioritize the importance of that. So now when I go in to meet with someone, the first thing I always ask is, how is this divorce? How is it going? How's the communication between both parties? And if they tell me it's great, they're agreeing to everything, that's a certain kind of way that I communicate with them. If it's really bad, then what I tend to do is I send everything to both attorneys and I b ccc both the clients so they can see that no site is getting more information than the other, but that they cannot communicate the answers or send tactical comments or questions to each other through email.


It's strictly business. We are trying to do what we can do to make this as easy for everybody as possible.

Speaker 1 (08:28):

Yeah. And I think it's very important, especially to work with somebody who has been there, who knows how to speak the language, who knows what to look for, who knows, you know, who's been in court and you know, rather than just a, a real estate agent, you know, who just sells homes or, or you know, whatever. But I, I, I just think it's very important to have that specialized service when you're selecting an agent. So what's the most important, I know you talked about communication, but other than that, what's the most important lesson you've learned over your career?

Speaker 2 (09:04):

Oh, oh honestly, I mean, it it's customer service and communication. It just is what it is. Building relationships. If if you cannot communicate or provide cu good customer service, that's, you're just not gonna be successful in real estate. It just, I mean, that is the bottom problem.

Speaker 1 (09:24):

People need to know you care before they, what is it people need to know you care before they c care how much, you know. So that's very

Speaker 2 (09:32):

Important. Yeah, absolutely. And I always tell everyone with divorce cases and the attorneys that I've talked to and the ones that I've worked with will tell you what you see a lot of agents do is they're like, oh my gosh, three transactions out of this. This is phenomenal. And my goal is to stay at 50 50, 50%. We sell 50%, they stay depending on if they have the availability to do it. Yeah. that is not the priority here and that is what will get most agents in trouble is they're in it for the wrong reasons and they see their, their goal is very different. Yeah. and that is important to know that, you know, this person is gonna truly do what's best for the home.

Speaker 1 (10:10):

Yeah. And I appreciate you bringing that up cuz that is important to not just be, to be more focused on the client than just getting the sale. And a lot of, i I do know a lot of agents that, you know, are in it just for the money and you've gotta be in it for the right reasons. So that's important.

Speaker 2 (10:25):


Speaker 1 (10:27):

So I, I don't know if, I don't think you mentioned, but you do have offices in Dallas and Houston?

Speaker 2 (10:33):

Yes, so we are located, our home base is Houston and we also are in Dallas.

Speaker 1 (10:37):

Okay. And you, I I'm assuming you, you go travel back and forth between the two?

Speaker 2 (10:42):

I am back and forth consistently between both locations. Yes. And we have agents in both offices, so.

Speaker 1 (10:47):

Okay. Very good. So I'm, I I'm gonna wrap this up, but I appreciate you taking the time to tell us about yourself and what you do. And the fact that you're an outstanding, you know, real estate expert in Dallas and Houston is pretty impressive. So where can someone who might benefit from your expertise find you?

Speaker 2 (11:10):

Absolutely. So we have a website, it's Texas living company.com, and then we also have all the social media handles. We are on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook as well. So in all the links are everywhere. You can get 'em on our website as well as each of the the social media platforms too.

Speaker 1 (11:26):

Okay. And we'll post them here as well. Do you have any final thoughts that you wanna share with us today?

Speaker 2 (11:32):

No, I just wanna thank you for your time and I'm looking forward to helping other people try to make divorce as smooth and easy as possible.

Speaker 1 (11:41):

All right. Well, thank you Rhonda Ross, Texas Living Company. Thank you. And hopefully we'll connect soon.

Speaker 2 (11:48):

Sounds good. Thank you.