Deciding what to do with the marital home is just one of the many difficult decisions facing divorcing couples. There are financial and emotional aspects to the decision and inevitably each party will have a different opinion about what to do.
Often, it comes down to financial necessity and this is where good professional and legal advice is essential. An appraisal of the property will be required as part of the divorce proceedings, to determine the true, present value of the home. To ensure a fair result, it's wise for each party to obtain a separate appraisal or formal valuation. It's also important that both parties agree what will be included in the sale of the home before the appraisal is done. The inclusion of things like whitegoods, built-in furniture, curtains, and light fittings will all have an impact on the result of both appraisals.
To produce a property appraisal, a real estate agent will attend the property and ask questions about the house and its condition. They will want to know about any additions that have been made to the property and whether there is any damage or things that need to be repaired. Once they have thoroughly inspected the property, the agent will then go away and make a comparison with other properties in the area that have been sold recently. Combining all this information, along with their expertise about the local area, the agent can then provide an opinion of the property's likely value.
Emotions can be heightened during a divorce so separate appraisals are a good idea. Each agent should have a professional and unbiased approach and ideally, not be a friend or family member, whose judgement may be clouded by loyalty. Every agent has a different opinion on the value of different components of a home, so one appraisal may be quite different from the other. In situations such as this, a third appraisal may be warranted, or it can be left to the judge, who will reference both appraisals and make the final decision.
The appraisal will of course also inform the final sale price of the property and contribute to how the equity is split as part of the divorce. A number of factors are considered here, such as original contributions to the purchase of the house and ongoing contributions by each individual. The appraisal process helps both parties by offering an alternative perspective from an unbiased professional. The appraisal process ensures everyone has a sense of how things might turn out in the divorce proceedings. Once the two appraisals have been finalised, both parties can breathe a sigh of relief and move onto the next stage - selling the marital home.