One of the most contested assets in a divorce is often the family home. The first dispute often involves who gets to keep the family home and who must leave? Once that is decided, the value of the property is typically the next major issue. In this article, we take a look at Massachusetts divorce appraisals and why they are important to settle transfers of family homes.

Why Home Value is Important

What often occurs with a family home is that one spouse will buy out the other spouse. Let’s assume a house is worth $500,000 and there’s a $400,000 mortgage on the home, The equity in the home would be $100,000. Split equally, this would require one spouse to buy out the other for $50,000. As you can imagine, whether a home is worth $500,000 or $550,000 can make a huge difference. Naturally, the spouse retaining the asset will want the value to be as low as possible, and the other will want it as high as possible.

Importance of Massachusetts Divorce Appraisals for Objective Market Value

The real estate market is constantly changing in Massachusetts. The current market value of a home is not the same as when the home was purchased or last refinanced. How can divorcing couples receive a fair and objective market value figure? It’s quite simple. Just as lenders order appraisals for homes to justify a purchase price, divorcing couples can do the same. Massachusetts divorce appraisals can be completed by an objective third party appraisal company.

Appraisers compare a home to similar recently sold properties in the area. Through structured financial analyses, they calculate a precise market value for a home at a given point in time. Couples can opt to split the cost of an appraisal or order separate reports from companies of their choosing. By relying on a third party, both gain assurance that the figure presented is impartial.

Settling Disputes over Home Value

Although objective, appraisals may not always generate a figure that both parties expected. Depending on whether the market is inclining or declining, and each person’s perception of that market, the figure may be too high or too low. Ordering additional appraisals may help each become more comfortable with the accuracy of the figure. Additionally, it’s important to remember that emotions surrounding a family home may differ from the reality of a market. Although an appraisal may not necessarily help reconcile those issues, they are still the best approach to home valuation for the purposes of a divorce.

For more information on Massachusetts divorce appraisals and how to best negotiate separation of your marital assets, schedule a consultation with the Massachusetts divorce attorneys at Martino Law Group.