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Why is an appraisal necessary for many divorcing couples?

You and your spouse may have spent many months looking at properties before you found the perfect marital home. It is also quite common for people to commit a significant portion of their monthly income to their mortgage and to improvements at their primary residence. Obviously, you will have an interest in ensuring that you receive a fair and appropriate portion of your home equity when you divorce.

However, it is also common for spouses to have disputes with one another about how to share the home’s value. Whether you hope to stay in the marital home or just want some of your equity so that you can rebuild your life, you need to know what your home is currently worth in order to negotiate effectively. For many couples, at least one appraisal will be necessary during the divorce process.

Why might an appraisal be necessary during a divorce?

The value of your home has likely changed

How much your home is worth on the open market depends on numerous factors, from the condition of the building to the price that other properties in the area commands. While there is a set value for your home on your annual property tax bill and also a beginning principal balance for your mortgage, neither of those values reflect what the property is worth if you were to list it for sale today.

An appraiser can determine what the home is worth if you were to list it now. They look at the market in your area and the improvements you have made to the home. In some cases, families may also require a second appraisal. Your needs can influence the results. Although appraisers use financial figures to reach reasonable fair market values, there is a little bit of subjectivity to that process.

As such, if an appraiser knows that their client wants to sell the home, they may skew toward the higher end of appropriate prices, while they might do the opposite if they know someone needs to pay equity to their spouse. Sometimes, couples need to secure two separate appraisals and then compromise based on the difference between those two values for the property.

Determining what the home is actually worth will be a crucial step during the property division process in an Illinois divorce.