Why a Home Appraisal is Important in Your Florida Divorce
Getting divorced is always complicated, even when the couple has only been married for a short time and owns relatively few marital assets. Property division in divorces gets even more complex when the couple has been married for a long time and owns substantial assets together, including real estate. When you are planning to get divorced in Florida and own a home with your spouse, you should consider a third-party real estate appraisal as an essential part of the divorce process. According to an article in HomeLight, getting a home appraisal can provide numerous benefits. We want to talk more about the benefits of a house appraisal in your divorce, as well as to provide you with some potential alternatives if a formal appraisal is too costly.
Benefits of a Home Appraisal Before You Get Divorced
A third-party home appraisal can provide many different benefits in a divorce. First, it can help each party to decide whether it makes sense to sell the house, or for one of the parties to keep it as part of the divorce settlement. Keep in mind that, under Florida law, marital property (which includes most assets and debts acquired during the marriage, often including a family home) is divided according to a theory of equitable distribution. This means that the court will divide property between the spouses in a manner that it decides is fair to both parties based on a variety of factors. If the house is worth significantly more money than when the couple purchased it, selling it and having the court distribute the profit could make a lot of sense. However, if the home is valued at less than when it was purchased, it could make more sense for one of the parties to stay in the home.
In addition to helping you decide whether or not to sell the house, a third-party appraisal can also provide both parties with a neutral assessment of the value of the home. When a licensed appraiser provides an estimate for the market value of your home, it can alleviate some of the tension that may exist concerning each spouse’s assumptions about the value of the property. For example, if one of the spouses believes the house to be worth $300,000, while the other spouse believes the value is closer to $400,000, a licensed appraiser can prevent a dispute over the actual value of the home.
Moreover, a licensed appraiser can provide with you a recent assessment. Even if the house was appraised five years ago, the value could have changed significantly since then. You can rest assured that an appraisal will provide both parties with the most up-to-date information available.
Alternatives to Hiring a Licensed Appraiser
Hiring a licensed appraiser can be expensive. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the cost can range from “a few hundred or several hundred dollars.” If your divorce is already complicated, it might seem unnecessary to hire an appraiser. While an appraisal can save you money in the long run, there are some less expensive alternatives you might consider.
For example, you could look into a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). As the Huffington Post article explains, “realtors will often be willing to do a CMA for a homeowner at little or no cost, which can provide a possible fair market value for your residence.” When a realtor does a CMS, she or he considers other properties that have been sold recently and are located close to your house. Or, you could conduct your own research along the lines of a CMA. You can use real estate websites or apps to look at properties similar to your own in your neighborhood that have sold recently.
Contact an Orlando Property Division Lawyer
If you have questions about having your house appraised in your divorce or having other complex property valued, an experienced Orlando complex property division attorney can help. Contact Anderson & Ferrin for more information about how we can assist you.