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- We put together this guide to help you learn how property value is determined in a divorce
Did you know that between 40-50% of married couples divorce in the United States? If you were recently part of this statistic or are planning on getting divorced, you are probably dealing with a ton of different emotions and other issues like child custody, divorce appraisals, etc.
We put together this guide to help you learn how property value is determined in a divorce
When Is a Property Appraiser Important?
If you own a home and are going through a divorce you want to get a fair and accurate assessment of how much your real estate is worth. The reason is that this is the only way that you can make sure that both of you get a fair division of your property.
Whether you want to get other assets in exchange for half of the home’s equity, or you want to keep the home, or you want your spouse to buy you out of the home, knowing your property’s worth will be essential.
This is when divorce appraisals will come in handy. You do not want to sign any agreements with your soon-to-be ex-spouse without knowing the accurate value of your home.
Getting the value of the residence also matters because it helps both parties involved and the court know, how to divide all of the other marital assets to make sure that there is a fair division of everything not only the property.
Unique Home Features
You want to keep in mind that unique features that your home has might be evaluated differently depending on the appraiser. If your home is different from most and you spent the extra money to customize it and make it yours, appraisers might have different opinions on what the true value of these unique features is.
If the difference is substantial between each party’s appraiser then a judge will probably order for a third appraisal to be conducted.
Is the Appraiser Familiar With the Local Market?
You want to verify that the appraiser that is looking at your home is knowledgeable about the local market. You don’t want an appraiser that is familiar with Manhattan, NY real estate to value your home in the rural Pocono Mountains. These are two different real estate worlds and the appraiser might not really be familiar with fair market values in that area.
Take the time to only hire an appraiser that has expert knowledge of the market that your home is in.
We want to make sure that you understand that the equity in the property is not the same thing as having money in the bank. If you both agree and sell the property for more than what you paid for it, you will both have to pay Federal and State capital gain taxes.
Preparing for the Appraisal
It is important to take the time to prepare your home for the appraiser to get the best valuation. The initial appearance can influence the appraiser’s opinion when they first arrive to do their job.
The goal is to maximize the appraised value by making sure the home is cleaned both inside and outside. Take the time to fix any minor repairs instead of letting them be. If there are any walls that can use some freshening up, take the time to paint them.
Spending large amounts of money to fix items might not be the best choice because you will more than likely, not create a sufficient return on the investment. If you plan on selling right away this would not make much sense.
You can even go the extra mile and bake some fresh homemade cookies and leave them out for the appraiser. You never know if this will help sweeten the deal.
What Happens During the Appraisal?
The real estate appraiser will contact you or your attorney to schedule a time to inspect the home. When they arrive at the appointment they will take measurements and pictures. They will ask about any major improvements that have been made since the home was purchased.
It will take the appraiser a few weeks max to complete a detailed report with the valuation of the property. If there are any questions or discrepancies you can ask once you have a copy of the report in writing.
What If You Can’t Agree on an Appraiser?
There are some divorces that are so difficult that couples are not able to agree on who the appraiser should be. If this is the case for you then this situation might play out differently.
The best-case scenario is that you are able to come to some type of agreement after initially not seeing eye to eye, but if not you can each get your own appraisal done. The judge will then take the average of both appraisals or make a decision as to which appraisal is the most representative of the fair market value for the area.
Feeling Like a Divorce Appraisals Pro?
Going through a divorce is never an easy situation and it is usually a stressful time as well. Divorce appraisals should not add to this stress, now that you understand the ins and outs of divorce and real estate. Appraisers go through extensive training to assess the value of a home accurately and therefore this can give you peace of mind that the home will be divided equally.
Did you learn something new in our blog post today? If so, check out more tips for getting a divorce.