At Sell My House, we understand the unique challenges that arise when a couple decides to sell their property during a divorce, and we are here to help guide you through the process with compassion, expertise, and a deep understanding of the Washington state real estate market. Our team of experienced real estate professionals is committed to providing personalized, efficient, and stress-free solutions that meet your unique needs and goals. With that being said, let’s take a deep look at how to sell your house during a divorce in Washington.
Table Of Contents
- How Does Selling Your House During a Divorce Work in Washington?
- Who Gets The House In a Divorce in Washington?
- Should I Sell Before or After My Divorce?
- Who Gets to Stay in the House During Divorce in Washington?
- Alternatives to Selling During Divorce in Washington
- Divorce House Sale Washington Frequently Asked Questions
- Easiest Way To Sell A House During A Divorce In Washington
How Does Selling Your House During a Divorce Work in Washington?
Making the decision to sell your house during a divorce in Washington can be a painful, emotionally charged process that is complicated by the legal considerations of staying compliant with the current divorce laws. However, if you break down the steps and complete each one in order, it can help make the process smoother.
Step 1. Find A Divorce Attorney in Washington
Since you want to sell your Washington house during a divorce, it’s best to start by finding a qualified and experienced divorce attorney. It’s important to note that both spouses involved in the divorce should each hire their own attorney to ensure they are both represented fairly and that their needs are met throughout the divorce process. When looking for qualified divorce attorneys, it’s best to read their website and pay attention to their education and professional achievements as well as the professional associations they are affiliated with. Next, read their reviews. Once you’ve found a couple of divorce lawyers that look qualified to handle your case, call them and schedule consultations. Lastly, choose the lawyer who you think will best represent your interests.
Step 2: Precisely Determine Who Owns The Marital Real Estate
Once you hire a divorce lawyer, you’ll need to determine who owns the real estate you wish to sell. For most married couples, this means that the marital estate may be in both their names or just one person may own the home. However, in Washington, marital homes can be titled a number of ways, including as community property, separate property, or as tenants in common. The way the property is titled will help determine how much of the marital estate is owned by each spouse.
Step 3: Make a Decision on How You Want to Sell The Property
Next, determine how you want to list and sell your Washington property. For most Washington homeowners, the first thing that’s going to come to mind is listing with a Realtor and waiting for potential buyers to come and view your house and make an offer. However, there are other ways to sell your marital house, including to an iBuyer, to a cash buyer, or by auctioning your house. You could even choose to sell your Washington home yourself without the aid of any professionals.
- Realtor – The traditional way to sell your Washington home on the market. Usually has added fees, but the real estate agent handles all the details.
- iBuyer – iBuyer stands for instant buyer. These are companies that use technology in order to determine a price to pay for any Washington home. iBuyers can typically have offers ready in as little as 24 hours, and if you accept their offer, they purchase in cash.
- Cash Buyer – Cash buyers are similar to iBuyers, but they don’t rely as heavily on technology and typically focus on buying Washington homes that are distressed and need a lot of repairs. Cash buyers offer cash based on the current condition of the Washington home.
- Auction – Listing your Washington home at an auction site is a quick way to sell your home, but there’s no guarantee that the bidders will meet your reserve price, which is the minimum amount of money you’ll accept for the home. Listing fees for auctions can also be high, so you’ll need to take that into consideration before choosing to sell your home via an auction.
- FSBO – Home sellers who choose FSBO must handle all aspects of the sale themselves without the aid of a real estate agent.
Step 4: Sell The Washington House
Once you’ve determined a method by which you want to sell the Washington home, list it and wait for a buyer to make an offer. Once you have a buyer and have accepted the offer, sell the Washington home and wait for the money to enter the bank account that you’ve set up to handle the proceeds from the sale.
Step 5: Divide the Proceeds from the Sale of the Marital Property
Lastly, divide the proceeds of the sale according to the stipulations in your divorce decree. The final amount given to each ex-spouse will be determined by the percentage of the Washington home owned by each spouse, the directions given by the court, and minus any debts, like the mortgage and any equity loans that are still left to pay.
Who Gets The House In a Divorce in Washington?
In Washington, the courts will take a variety of factors into consideration when determining who gets the marital dwelling. Those factors include the finances and earning potential of each person in the marriage, the ages and overall health of each partner, whether or not children are involved, and who has custody. In general, the court can decree that one spouse gets the marital Washington house. In contrast, the other gets additional property or assets in the amount of their half of the marital estate, or the court can decree that the Washington home be sold and the proceeds from that sale minus any debts are split between the spouses.
Should I Sell Before or After My Divorce?
Making the decision to sell before your divorce or after can be complex. In general, you should take several factors into consideration. If you and your spouse need the cash from the marital estate to pay off debts during the divorce, it may be better to sell it as soon as possible. However, if the hold holds sentimental value for either you or your spouse, you may want to wait to sell the marital estate until after the divorce because it’ll give you time to recover from the divorce proceedings and sort your emotions. You also need to take into consideration the legal ramifications. Selling the Washington home prior to or during the divorce will give both parties a clear dollar amount to divide. Choosing to sell your Washington home after the divorce is finalized means that the proceeds will have to be distributed according to the finalized divorce papers.
Who Gets to Stay in the House During Divorce in Washington?
Answering this question depends on whether the Washington home is considered separate property or marital property. If the home is considered separate property, meaning one spouse owns it and it was acquired prior to the marriage or via inheritance, the spouse that owns the property may get to remain in it during the divorce. If the Washington home is considered marital property, both spouses legally have a right to remain in the home during the divorce proceedings. If the two spouses cannot come to an agreement on who gets to live in the home, the judge presiding over the divorce can intervene. When this happens, he or she will look at whether or not one spouse is primarily responsible for caring for any dependents or needs to stay in the home due to a medical condition. Other factors may also influence the judge’s decision.
Alternatives to Selling During Divorce in Washington
In some cases, it may not be practical or financially advisable to sell a Washington home during a divorce.
Co-Own The Property
If both spouses can’t agree on if or when to sell the marital estate, they can co-own the property after the divorce. In this scenario, the spouses will need to determine if one or both of them will live in the marital house and who will pay the various household bills, insurance, and taxes. If both spouses choose to live in the Washington house, they’ll need to determine who will live in what part of the marital house and how common areas will be divided.
Buy Out The Other Spouse
When one spouse wants to reside in the marital house but the other does not or is ambivalent toward living in the marital house, the spouse that wants to live in the marital estate can choose to buy the other spouse out. If the buyer in this scenario doesn’t readily have the funds available, they may have to take out a second mortgage or refinance the home with a lender in order to acquire the money.
Divide the Marital Assets
Lastly, if one spouse wishes to remain in the home rather than sell it, the other spouse can be given assets or other properties that are equal to their share of the marital house. This could include cars, jewelry, collections, or other valuables that are approximate in value to their share of the Washington house.
Divorce House Sale Washington Frequently Asked Questions
Can I sell our marital house before our divorce has been finalized?
It is possible to sell a Washington house before the divorce is final. However, both spouses will have to agree to the sale and how the proceeds will be split. If one spouse wishes to remain in the home until the divorce is final, the other spouse will have to go to court to plead their case about why the home should be immediately sold.
Is Washington a 50-50 divorce state?
Washington is a communal property state. This means that all the assets acquired during the marriage are considered owned by both parties. This can include property, income, bank accounts, and investments. In most cases, community property is divided evenly during a divorce in Washington. However, there are still exceptions to that rule. The court will take into account the length of the marriage, each spouse’s ability to earn money after the divorce, and the financial needs of each spouse. These considerations may mean that the communal property is divided at a ratio of something other than 50-50.
Do I have to pay capital gains tax if I sell my Washington house during a divorce?
Capital gains tax is assessed on the profits from selling an asset, like a house. In Washington, if the couple has owned the home for at least 2 years out of the previous 5 and used it as their primary residence, they may be eligible for an exclusion to the capital gain tax of up to $500,000 if they were a married couple filing jointly. If they filed individually, then each spouse can avoid the capital gains tax on up to $250,000 of the profits for the sale of the marital house. If the exclusions do not apply, all of the profits of the sale of the Washington home are taxable.
Can I make my ex sell our Washington house after the divorce is final?
If your spouse does not want to sign the deed so that the Washington home can be sold and you do, it is possible to force the sale. However, this requires getting a court order. In order to get a court order forcing the sale of the marital house, the spouse who wants to sell must prove that they have a legitimate interest in the property and that selling the Washington home is necessary in order to protect his or her financial interests.
How do I sell my Washington house if my partner is refusing?
If your partner is refusing to sell the Washington home, you have two options. You can get a court order that decrees the sale of the home, or you can negotiate a settlement with your ex-spouse. To get a court order, you’ll generally need to prove that you have a financial need to sell the home, such as the inability to afford property repairs or the mortgage payments, and are at risk of foreclosure.
Negotiating a settlement may require the help of a mediator who can help you and your ex-spouse communicate. This is helpful if your divorce paperwork doesn’t state how the proceeds from selling the house are to be split. The mediator can help you work out an agreement with your spouse that is fair for both of you.
Easiest Way To Sell A House During A Divorce In Washington
If you’re looking to sell your marital home quickly before, during, or after a divorce, call an honest professional. Our Sell My House buys Washington homes from divorced couples in cash, and we’ll buy your home as-is, meaning you don’t need to make any repairs or upgrades to the property.
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