Believe it or not, a real estate appraiser is an important resource to support you through an essential piece of the divorce process. A real estate appraisal is a valuable resource that can help you to best understand the true value of your real estate property. As the owner, you can initiate an appraisal at any time. During a divorce, having your property appraised for value is essential.
As your divorce attorney may have told you, a professional real estate appraisal is required to ascertain the true value of your property or properties. In fact, a judge or mediator can’t determine how much your property is worth without first receiving an official report from a certified appraiser. If you and your previous spouse each have an attorney, it’s advised that a single appraiser is assigned. Before an appraisal is conducted, be sure to decide which party is going to pay the appraisal fee. Generally speaking, appraisal fees should be split down the middle.
The Three Steps of Appraisal during a Divorce
- A visual examination of the exterior and interior of the home will take place. During the visit the appraiser will ask you and your spouse questions about the home. Typical questions include; are there any concerns with the property, and are there any special circumstances? Once these questions have been answered, the appraiser will take an assortment of room and hallway measurements. Next, the appraiser will check for any plumbing, electricity, and amenity updates.
- After the property visit, the appraiser will compare your home against the surrounding neighborhood properties. Typically an appraiser will compare your home against three to five other homes that were sold within the last six months. Through this comparison, the appraiser can better gauge the sale value of your home. The following factors are typically compared.
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Square footage of the home.
- Acreage of the front, back and side yards.
- The general condition of the home, taking into consideration viable upgrades.
- External factors that increase (or decrease) the value of the home. For example, a fireplace, waterfront view, a nearby highway, etc.
- The final step of the appraisal process is the final, official report. This report will contain the appraiser’s definitive analysis of your home. Through this report the judge or mediator who is presiding over your divorce will have an accurate market-based value for your Real Estate property.
The Bottom Line: A Real Estate Appraiser is Essential During A Divorce
Whether you own one real estate property or multiple homes, a professional appraiser is necessary to ensure that your home is properly, and accurately, valued. It is important to note that a professional appraiser is bound to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which ensures that the appraisal is conducted with the utmost discretion, honesty, fairness, and confidentiality. With the help of a trusted appraiser, you can eliminate at least one of the stressful factors involved with dividing up your Real Estate investments during a divorce and begin the process of rebuilding your life.