The Importance of Obtaining an Accurate Home Appraisal During Divorce
Couples who decide to dissolve their marriages must grapple with a host of issues upon divorce, including how their marital assets will be divided. While splitting up the contents of bank accounts or personal possessions can be a relatively simple process, deciding who will retain the family home is almost always more difficult. In some cases, the parties may decide that selling the home and dividing the proceeds is the best course of action, while others may instead opt for allowing one spouse to keep the home and refinance it in his or her name. In either case, an accurate home appraisal is critical to ascertaining the property’s fair market value, which is a step that must be taken before the property can be sold or refinanced. If you need help ensuring that your own home is appraised correctly and by a qualified professional, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced property division attorney who can assist you.
How are Appraisals Conducted?
Real estate appraisals should be conducted by qualified appraisers who are familiar with local market conditions and can use that knowledge when comparing a couple’s property to homes that were recently purchased in the same area. This assessment will also require calculating the value of unique features on the property, such as a swimming pool or a four car garage. However, the appraisal process is somewhat subjective, so one appraiser may take all special features, including extensive landscaping or custom solar panels into account, while another may only make estimates based on large features. For this reason, most couples are encouraged to obtain multiple appraisals from a number of different sources.
Once the fair market value of a property has been established, a financial specialist will still need to take any mortgages and tax issues into account when determining equity. Similarly, if a property is being used as a rental property or is being leased, the parties should also calculate the net income generated by the property, as well as the property’s condition at the time of appraisal, and any expenses that could be required in the future to repair problems.
Why are Appraisals Important?
Having an accurate appraisal of a home is key to ensuring that the property is divided fairly. Regardless of whether the property is being sold and the proceeds divided, or is being kept by one spouse, knowing the home’s current value is essential when it comes to splitting assets. This is especially true in cases where one spouse is retaining the property, as the other party will need to be granted ownership of other marital assets to make up the difference. Furthermore, Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that the assets and debts of divorcing couples must be divided fairly. If a couple negotiates a property settlement that is unfair or one-sided because they were using an inaccurate appraisal, the settlement could be denied.
Contact an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Property Division Attorney Today
Please call dedicated Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to find out more about the appraisal process and how to ensure that your property is fairly divided upon divorce.