You are trying to save as much money as you can during the divorce process. When you get quotes for a home appraisal, it’s a few hundred dollars, and you’re not sure you want to pay.
While trying to save makes sense, an appraisal is very much worth your time. You could end up saving a lot of money.
The real estate market moves constantly. Just because you paid $300,000 for your home does not mean it’s worth anywhere near that today. Appraisers look at the condition of the house, the market in general, and the value of properties around yours to get a realistic measure of its worth.
This helps you no matter what you want to do. For instance, maybe you’re thinking of selling your home and splitting up the profits or the debt. If it’s worth $290,000 and you owe $300,000, then you know you’re going to take on $5,000 in debt, and so is your spouse. You can plan for it. If the home is worth $350,000, then you know you could be gaining $25,000 in cash to help you transition out of married life.
Perhaps your spouse wants to keep the house. You’re fine with that, but you’re asking for other assets, like cash or retirement accounts, to balance it out. You need to know exactly what that house is worth. If you’re wrong and assume it’s worth $50,000 less than it is, you’re essentially gifting your ex $50,000 and costing yourself in the split.
Naturally, these same basic principles hold true, whether your home is worth $300,000 or $3 million. Be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take as you divide assets.
Source: Huffington Post, “Three Ways To Value Your Home In A Divorce,” Joseph E. Cordell, accessed Dec. 05, 2017