Many tasks that might at first seem fairly straightforward can quickly become complicated in the midst of a tense divorce. One good example of something that should be relatively easy, but can be expensive in certain circumstances is deciding on a value for your marital residence.
The problem is that the value of the house, often the couple’s largest asset, matters a great deal when dividing the marital estate. Each side often has something to gain (or lose, as the case may be) based on the value of the house, which is why arriving at one number is often easier said than done. The issue has only become more complicated in recent years due to the economic downtown. People may find themselves in the unfortunate situation of being underwater on a house or believing it to be worth far more than it is. To help stop the bickering over price, research needs to be done to come up with a realistic value to facilitate a relatively painless division of assets.
There are three primary ways to determine the value of the house. First, and least expensive, is to do some simple online research of your own. Digging around on the Internet and looking at comparable listings with local realtors or MLS listings can often help you gauge the marketplace. The estimate will not be precise, far from it, but it can help determine a range that your house might fall into. This might end disputes where one spouse insists on a wildly inflated (or deflated) number. In some cases this might be enough research to put the issue to rest, but in the most acrimonious cases the value will likely be seen as too speculative to hold up in court.
The next approach is to have a comparative market analysis done. This means that an examination of sales prices of homes in your area is done. Realtors will usually do a CMA for little or no money and can help give you a fair market estimate for your house. Though this approach is much less expensive than a full-fledged appraisal, it’s also not as accurate. This is because CMAs do not take into account the specific condition of your house, something that can lead to large fluctuations in value.
The last, and most expensive option is to conduct an appraisal. Depending on the location of your house and the market place, an appraisal can run a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. This can be scary given the price of the divorce itself, but in cases where the amount in contention is great then it can actually be worth all the expense. Though it can be a pricey way of determining value, it’s clearly the most accurate.
If you find yourself facing a confusing family matter then you need the help of experienced family law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process.
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