The division of marital assets is always one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce in New York. The couple may have far different opinions about the value of the homestead, and they may also disagree about how the homestead should be divided. One of the best ways to reduce the stress and anger that infests this issue is to hire a professional real estate appraiser.
What does the appraiser do?
The appraiser’s basic role is to provide an impartial opinion as to the net worth of the homestead assuming a willing seller and a willing buyer. This gives the divorcing parties a dollar figure to work with as they negotiate the division of property. The impartiality of the opinion as to value may by itself eliminate much of the disagreement about how to handle the house. The appraisal also provides three options:
- The couple can use the opinion as to value as the basis for an agreement to split the net value of the house
- The couple can use the net value of the home in determining the equitable value of the marital estate
- The couple can use the appraisal as the basis for negotiations to sell the house to a third party
How does the appraiser work?
The appraiser’s first task is to inspect the subject property. In doing so, the appraiser will measure the size of each room and make observations about the physical condition of the building, both inside and out. The appraiser will also note the existence of any significant improvements, such as a new kitchen or remodeled bathroom.
Having collected information about the physical condition of the subject, the appraiser will next examine public records to find the sales price for comparable properties. The appraiser can then adjust the values of the comparable properties based on how they compare to the subject. The appraiser will also use his or her knowledge of the local housing market to make further adjustments in the estimated value of the subject property. Finally, the appraiser will render a written opinion containing his or her professional opinion as to the fair market value of the subject. The appraisal report will then be delivered to the client and to the court. In most cases a copy of the appraisal report will also be given to the other party.