Long, Murphy & Zung, P.A.

Why do I need a real estate appraiser to value my marital home?

Your home is likely the most expensive asset you and your soon-to-be ex share. Deciding how to handle whether you or your ex are going to continue living in it or sell it off post-divorce is likely a difficult decision. If one of you is going to stay in the house and buy the other one out, deciding what you're going to offer up in exchange for you keeping the marital home can also be taxing.

Whatever the two of you decide to do, it will likely involve your home's value being assessed. To come up with a value for the home, your appraiser will likely look at comparable sales in your neighborhood. He or she will likely figure into this special features your home may have like a large garage, a dock or pond.

Contrary to what many homeowners might think, certain design features or additions may actually detract from the price as opposed to increasing it. Take for example a swimming pool. Research shows that they rarely increase a property's value on pace with how much they cost to install. Unique color schemes, room layouts, or the use of unique building materials may impact prices in a negative way also.

It's important to find a nonbiased party to appraise the home in case he or she is called in to make a decision as to how to split it up. If you do, it's critical to find someone who really specializes in understanding the values of homes in the area where your's is located. Having two or more appraisers take a look at your property and assign a value can be particularly effective as each person may see things differently.

Having your appraiser do a retrospective, or historical, appraisal to assess value changes over time may be helpful in understanding its true value as well.

If you two can't amicably decided who stays and goes, then the onus will fall on either your divorce mediator to help you broker a deal or on the judge to decide what to do. If you are your ex are having difficulty reaching an agreement as to split up your home, then a Naples attorney can provide guidance in your case.

Source: Forbes, "Seven key points divorcing women need to know about real estate and real estate appraisals," Jeff Landers, accessed Feb. 13, 2018

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