Thinking of filing for Divorce? Here are 3 ways to value your largest asset… Your Home.

For a lot of partners, the marital property is the largest asset gained during the marriage. Whether you or your partner desires to keep the marital residence following the divorce, it is essential that an accurate value is obtained for purposes of property division.

Order A Home Appraisal

The absolute most reliable evaluation method for real-estate would be to obtain an appraisal from a qualified appraiser.

Depending on your real estate market, appraisals could cost a few hundred or several hundred dollars. Even though this may be financially burdensome when your earnings are already strapped as a result of costs for the divorce process, an assessment can save you thousands of dollars if the value you’re using for the real estate is inexact.

For example, if you are inquiring to keep the marital residence, and you are attributing value to the property based upon a 2013 assessor’s value at $345,000, but a current appraisal values the property at $325,000, you’ll owe your partner $20,000 less in equity for the residence. Thus, the expense of an appraisal is actually a valuable investment.

Conversely, if your husband or wife is requesting to keep the property, and you have inadvertently valued the house too low, there’s a chance you’re losing out on equity in your home to which you are entitled.

In the event you and your spouse aren’t in agreement on the value of the property, an appraiser is a reliable witness whom you can call to testify at a final hearing.

Comparative Market Analysis

An additional method of valuation can be a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Real estate agents are usually happy to do a CMA for the property owner at little if any cost, which can offer a potential fair market value for the residence.

A CMA looks to the other properties for sale or recently sold in your neighborhood and analyzes those homes along with their sale prices with your home’s value. While this is a more cost-effective choice than an appraisal, it can be less accurate, as it may not take into account the specific condition of your residence.

If however you are searching for a quick and cost-effective value method for your residence, this can be an option to utilize.

Doing Your Own Research

Some people carry out their own investigation with online sites to ascertain a value, like Zillow.com. Unless you and your soon to be ex are willing to agree to this technique of valuation, it is usually recommended that a more precise and dependable source of valuation be implemented.

Providing papers from an online site is not viewed to be as accurate by the judge as an appraisal or CMA.

Just like any expert witness, it is preferable to secure the services of a neutral third party, i.e., if your sister is an appraiser, you likely should not utilize her appraisal services for your dissolution case.

Using a potentially partial person to provide the value for your property can give the other side an easy way to pull apart your projected value of your real estate holding.

Of course, the option would be to sell the marital residence and agree to split the proceeds from the sale accordingly. But if either party desires to maintain the marital household, then it is important that a fair and accurate value for that property is acquired using one of several methods described above, preferably the divorce appraisal.