For most couples, the house is one of the most high-value assets they own. Whether it is your main residence in Denver or vacation property you own in Aspen, you are going to have to make some major decisions on how to deal with real estate if you are planning to divorce. For example, you will have to decide if the two of you should sell the house and split the proceeds or if one of you will keep it and give up other assets of equal value.
In order to determine the value of the real estate you own, you can generally pick from one of three different processes. The following are the most common avenues for home valuation for people who choose to divorce.
Hire a licensed appraiser
By far the most reliable method is to hire an experienced and licensed appraiser to determine the value of the property. If you own high-value real estate, this method, while the most expensive, might also save you thousands of dollars by avoiding an inaccurate valuation. For example, if you choose to keep the main residence, the original purchase price of $500,000 may not be accurate at the time of your divorce. Depending on the current state of the housing market, the value could be less or more. If it is less, you certainly do not want to give up $250,000 in other assets if you really only need to give your ex $200,000.
Comparative Market Analysis
Another common type of valuation is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Realtors often use this method to determine a fair market value for real estate, but it may not take into consideration all the various aspects and conditions of your home. With a CMA, the realtor will use the market values of several other properties that generally have the same attributes and are located in the same area as your house to calculate a value. While this method might be more cost-effective, it is also less accurate than conducting a full appraisal.
There are many do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that might be a great way to spend a weekend with the kids. However, determining the value of your real estate is really not one of them. While you can do your own research on property values in the area, this is definitely the less reliable method for determining the value of your house. In addition, this method is only an option if you and your future ex-husband agree to it.
If you are considering divorce, it is important to choose an accurate method for the valuation of your real estate. The wrong method could end up costing a significant amount of your divorce settlement.