Divorce is an emotional time for everyone involved. Other than child custody, deciding what to do with the home you share may be the most difficult situation you’ll have to handle. In addition to your sentimental investment in the home, you and your spouse/partner will likely have spent years making payments on it. You must make a choice between selling your home or deciding that one of you will keep it. Divorce appraisals provide you with the most probable "as-is" sales price of your home in the current market. This estimate of value will help you and your legal counsel calculate divorce equity in the home and determine whether you will sell the property and split the proceeds, or if one spouse/partner will buy out the other.
What Are Your Options?
During a divorce, every asset will need to be split. Whoever is staying in the house will be required to come up with the money to facilitate the equity buyout. Also, a buyout usually means the person who be staying in the home will need to get a new mortgage. Because of this, it’s often easiest for the divorcing couple to sell the house.
Does your soon-to-be-ex want to keep the home and you’ll need to collect your half of the equity? Can’t agree on a list price and it’s got you fuming?
Attorneys will often advise divorcing couples to get the house appraised to establish fair market value for the home. An appraiser does not represent either spouse in a divorce and acts as an objective, neutral third party. The appraisal will provide you with a credible "as-is" sales price of your home in the current market.
A residential real estate appraiser can be a valuable resource in a divorce proceeding. Knowing what your home is worth can help you come to a fair settlement. If you are unable to reach an agreement, an appraiser's report may help support your position during a trial.
What Do Divorce Appraisals Entail?
The real estate appraiser will contact you (or your attorney) to schedule a time to inspect the property. While it’s wise to make your home look its best, avoid investing large amounts of money in home improvements, because you may not see a return on your investment. An appraiser’s job is to determine if certain aspects of your home (like the condition, yard, amenities, or other features) make the house worth less or more than other homes in your neighborhood. The appraiser will take pictures and measurements as well as ask you about major improvements you've made to the property.
It’s important to understand that divorce appraisals do not replace the appraisal required on behalf of the buyer after a house goes under contract.
The lender will require another appraisal, paid for by the buyer, to ensure the loan doesn't exceed what the home is worth. Also, it is possible for the two appraisals to differ. A bank won’t lend the buyers more than the home’s appraised value. Therefore, it is wise for a divorcing couple to discuss this possibility and plan accordingly.
Divorce Appraisal FAQs
How long does it take to get a divorce appraisal for our home?
Typically, Stafford Appraisals completes the divorce appraisal report within three business days of visiting the property.
How does Stafford Appraisals determine the value of my home?
Stafford Appraisals uses statics about your property and their experience in the market to reconcile the range of values into a single opinion of value. The appraisal takes into consideration home size, condition, and overall quality as well as any amenities such as pools or outdoor kitchens. Stafford Appraisals then compares your home with other similar homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold. The appraiser will adjust for differences between the subject and comparable properties and perform an analysis of the market data to arrive at a range of possible values for your home. The final step is to reconcile the range of values into a single value.
What is the process to expect when ordering a divorce appraisal?
A home appraisal is a multi-step process. First, Stafford Appraisals collects, verifies, analyzes, and reconciles the data pertaining both to your home and the market. Second we schedule a “home observation”, which usually takes about one hour. Visiting the property allows the appraiser to independently verify the data pertaining to the home. During the home observation, the appraiser visits the home being appraised takes photos and collects data, including measurements of the home. Finally, Stafford Appraisals will write your divorce appraisal report based on the collected data.
Will you take photos of the inside of my house?
Yes, the appraiser will take photos of all the rooms inside your house. The purpose of the photos is to illustrate the condition of the property. It it our policy to avoid photographing personal belongings such as family photographs and religious items. If the appraiser cannot avoid photographing these items, they will be obscured in the photo that is submitted with the appraisal.
Can my pet be in the house during the home appraisal?
Will I receive a copy of the divorce appraisal once complete?
If the homeowner ordered the divorce appraisal, they own the appraisal report and will receive a copy after the appraisal is complete. If a third party, such as a bank ordered the appraisal, per federal regulations, Stafford Appraisers cannot talk to the homeowner about the appraisal. In these cases, the third party will provide a copy of the appraisal report to the homeowner.
Can my pet be in the house during the divorce appraisal?
Yes, your pet is welcome to be in your home or back yard. However, for their safety and the safety of the appraiser, we ask that you leash or crate them. Please note that placing the pet in the back yard is not an adequate method of confinement since the appraiser will be in the back yard to take photographs and measure the house.
Request a Divorce Appraisal
Stafford Appraisals understands that divorce is difficult. All inquiries are confidential and handled with the utmost tact.
To get started with your divorce appraisal, you can reach us by phone or though the contact form on the website. We will follow up with you to discuss the appraisal process and how soon you need the appraisal.
Contact Stafford Appraisals today for an appraisal of your property.