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How should I value my house in a divorce?

The marital home is unlike any other asset in a divorce. For one thing, it is probably one of the largest assets that you own. For another, you and your spouse may both have your names on the deed. When you are dividing property in a divorce, you will need to put extra consideration into how to deal with your home.

The first step in deciding what to do with the marital home is to have it accurately valued. There are a few different methods that you can follow, each with benefits and drawbacks. If you are divorcing, you should know these common ways to value a house in a divorce.

1. Do it yourself

Attempting to value your marital home based on your own research may seem tempting, but don’t be too hasty. Yes, providing your own valuation can save you some money, but courts typically do not consider this method very accurate. Not to mention the conflict that could arise if you and your spouse disagree on the home's value. Generally, it is wise to seek out a different way to assess how much your house is worth.

2. Have it appraised

Having a licensed appraiser provide a valuation of your home is the most accurate method of appraisal. Sure, it is more expensive—sometimes a few hundred dollars. This may seem like a significant chunk of cash, but it could end up saving you thousands of dollars by providing an accurate number the first time around. Not to mention, an appraiser is a neutral third party who can provide an objective opinion if you and your spouse are unable to agree on the value.

3. Use a Comparative Market Analysis

A third option is to value your house via a Comparative Market Analysis, or CMA. A CMA assesses your house’s value based on the prices of other homes that have recently been sold in your neighborhood. Some realtors will provide a CMA for a small fee. This method is generally not as accurate as hiring an appraiser, but it can be faster and less expensive. 

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James H. Snyder Attorney at Law
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