Property division issues often rely on real estate appraisals

Massachusetts couples who are preparing for divorce have a number of issues to consider. For many, property division ranks high among the priorities, and rightfully so. The financial decisions made during divorce can have lasting repercussions for both parties and, therefore, must be made wisely. In determining how real property will be divided between spouses, it is important to understand how property appraisals can affect the process.

Regardless of whether the family home will be sold or retained by one spouse, obtaining a real estate appraisal is an important step. A professional appraisal will look closely at recently sold properties in the same geographic area and of the same basic type and style. This data will be used to calculate an estimation of the value of the home in the current real estate market.

Once the value has been determined, it can be easier to negotiate the terms of how real property will be divided in the divorce. For example, if the home is to be sold and it appears that the proceeds will not fully cover the cost of the sale, both parties will be able to plan around the eventual out-of-pocket expense of selling the home. In fact, it may make more sense for one party to remain in the home until the real estate market improves and a sale will net a profit instead of a loss.

When considering the appraised value of a piece of real property, it is essential that both parties keep in mind that a Massachusetts property appraisal is simply a snapshot of estimated value at a given time. The value can and will shift according to market conditions and the sale prices of comparable properties in the area. When it comes to issues of property division during a divorce, an appraisal can be an important tool in both determining the course of negotiations and in preparing an accurate budget for the timeframe following the completion of the divorce process.

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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