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How Much is Your House Worth in Your Divorce?

Posted on in DIvision of Property

One of the most valuable assets that couples tend to own is their primary home. No matter how you plan to divide the marital residence in the divorce, you will need to know its value. In today's housing market, which reportedly is starting to recover, it may be unclear whether your home is worth what you paid for it or if you are "underwater" on your mortgage. A recent Huffington Post article detailed the ways that a home can be valued during a divorce.

One of the most common ways to determine your home's value is to have a formal appraisal done. A licensed appraiser can probably give you the most reliable figures about the value of your home. The downside of an appraisal is that it may cost several hundred dollars. However, getting a true picture of your home's value can save you thousands as you are negotiating your divorce settlement. For instance, if you want to remain in the home and an appraisal shows that the house has declined in value, then you will owe your soon-to-be-ex-spouse less in equity. Likewise, if your spouse plans to remain in the house, an incorrect valuation of the home can result in you losing out on equity to which you are entitled.

Instead of an appraisal, realtors tend to value real estate through a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA involves comparing your home with other homes in the area that have recently sold or been listed for sale. One of the benefits of a CMA is that it will cost little or nothing to have it done by a realtor. However, a CMA valuation can be less inaccurate in some cases.

The final option which some couples utilize is to do their own research, often using online resources to do so. This is probably the least reliable method of valuing a home, as it is not being performed by a real estate professional who is well-versed in the valuation of homes.

Whichever option for valuing your home that you choose, you should also take the advice of an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney who can assist in answering these and all of your questions about the valuation and division of marital property.

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