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Real Estate Appraisals and Divorce

appraisal, real estate, Kane County Divorce AttorneysAs you and your spouse start to contend with the divorce process, you will, undoubtedly, encounter a large number of difficult decisions. You will need to decide how to make arrangements for children, whether you should expect to pay or receive spousal support, and which of you will get which specific property and assets. For couples who own real estate, including the marital home, a professional appraisal is a necessary component of the proceedings, as the equitable division of property depends upon the reliable valuation of all marital assets.

Appraisal Basics

A real estate appraiser is an individual trained to assess real property and develop a fair-market valuation of the property. An appraisal is part of the buying and selling process. In divorce, an appraisal is necessary to ensure that property will be distributed equitably between parties, as required by Illinois law.

To establish the value of a home or other piece of property, the appraiser inspects the premises and gathers information from the homeowner. Based on the property’s condition, amenities, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as updates and improvements, such as a newly-renovated kitchen or the installation of a pool, the appraiser develops a base estimate. The appraiser will then look at the recent sale prices of comparable properties in the same geographic area, which allows him or her to fine-tune the estimate and arrive at a definitive market-based valuation.

One Appraiser or Two?

Real estate appraisals involve subjective decision-making, particularly regarding what features or characteristics increase or decrease the value of the property. As such, two real estate appraisers may be reasonably able to offer two very different conclusions. For this reason, among others, many divorcing spouses will each seek a separate appraisal. Each partner chooses an appraiser, and both valuations are presented to the court during the property division process.

In other situations, a couple may be able to more readily agree on the selection of a trusted appraiser. Both spouses frequently wish to be present during the property inspection and involved in the process, but are willing to accept the valuation offered by the appraiser. Alternatively, the attorneys representing each spouse may also negotiate to find an acceptable individual to conduct the needed appraisal. Selecting a single appraiser can help reduce unnecessary contentiousness during the process as well as limit extra expenses related to the divorce.

Legal Assistance for Real Estate Issues in Divorce

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about how the ownership of real estate may affect your situation, contact an experienced divorce attorney in Kane County. At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., we understand that divorce can be financially complex and are committed to helping you achieve an equitable resolution. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our fully-qualified legal professionals.

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