Going through a divorce is already a difficult process for all parties that are involved. One of the most difficult decisions that arise from most divorce situations is the question of “whose going to keep the house?” The key to negotiating a divorce property settlement depends on a fair, unbiased assessment of the value of the property. For an accurate assessment of a property, the expertise of a professional real estate appraiser is needed. Here are six factors to keep in mind when working with real estate appraisers.
Appraisals Based On Comparable Sales: Fair market value is determined by the property in question and comparable properties that have sold in the area recently. The more houses that are sold within your area, the better of an idea you’ll have about the actual market conditions and the value of your house. The value of your home will be based on the comparable sales in your area combined with any special features of your property.
Unique Features: If your home features any unique additions, such as a greenhouse, multi-car garage, or a pool; the evaluation of your home may be different. Depending on the appraiser, they may evaluate unique features of your home differently, which means the value of your home may fluctuate. If there is a substantial difference between two appraiser’s estimates, a third appraiser may be asked to give another opinion.
Knowing Feature Value: A unique feature of your home may be valuable to you but it may be less valuable to others. This reason is why you should choose an appraiser who is emotionally unbiased and professional. An example of this would be the addition of a swimming pool. Many times the added value of a swimming pool does not equal to the cost in which you had the pool installed.
Appraisers in Your Area: Make sure you hire an appraiser who is knowledgeable in the market in which you will be selling. Fair market value is not the same in every part of the country so it is important that you hire someone who is familiar with the area.
Value Changes Overtime: A historical appraisal is useful when you want to know how much your property sold at a later time. This is import to understand in the scenario of understanding the value of your property before the marriage and after so you can better understand if your property increased in value due to the changes that you’ve made during the marriage or if the value of the property has changed negatively because of the marriage.
Fair Market Value Is Not Enough: Once you have determined the fair market value, the next step is to subtract the existing mortgage to find out what your current equity is in the property.