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Real estate appraisals are valuable tools during divorce

When a California couple is approaching divorce, issues of property division often dominate the negotiation process. When spouses own a home or vacation property, determining the value of those assets is an essential step toward opening divorce negotiations. The manner in which real estate values are established involved working with a licensed real estate appraiser.

Before hiring an appraiser, both spouses should understand that a real estate appraisal provides a snapshot of the estimated value of a home sold at the time of the appraisal and in the home's current condition. No two appraisals will be the same, as they are completed by trained professionals who are looking at your home and comparing it to recently sold properties of similar type and condition. As new sales close, the value of a home shifts according to that sales data.

Once you have a completed real estate appraisal in hand, it can be far easier to determine the best course of action in dividing real property assets. For example, if a couple owns a vacation property in a depressed real estate market, it may be more financially advantageous for both parties to retain the home and place it for lease through a property management company until the market improves. Another example lies in a couple in which one party wishes to retain the family home, but where there is insufficient equity in the home to support a profit from a sale in the next few years. Understanding where the estimated sale proceeds sit at the onset of a divorce can help an individual make an informed decision about whether to keep or sell the property.

When moving through the divorce process, using a professional real estate appraiser can help both parties make the best possible decisions regarding property division. It is important to select an appraiser who is familiar with not only your geographic area, but also with the type and style of your home, especially if the property has unique aspects that could significantly impact the estimated value. The decisions made concerning California real estate holdings can have a great deal of impact on the financial standing of both parties following the dissolution of the marriage, making value estimation of all assets a top priority.

Source: Forbes, "Seven Key Points Divorcing Women Need To Know About Real Estate And Real Estate Appraisals," Jeff Landers, Jan. 22, 2013

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