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Why It Is Important to Appraise Your House During DivorceIf you are a homeowner who is getting a divorce, a real estate appraisal is essential to ensuring that you have a fair division of property. Appraising your home is a natural step if you plan to sell it as part of your divorce. You need to know what your home is worth before you entertain offers for it. However, you also need an appraisal if one of you plans to keep the home following the divorce. The value of the home is part of calculating how to equitably divide your marital properties.

Preparing for an Appraisal

A real estate appraiser will estimate the value of your home based on factors such as its size, amenities, condition, and comparative market value. Your responsibility is to prepare your home so that it looks favorable to the appraiser. This may include:

  • Cleaning and organizing the interior and exterior of the home
  • Making sure that the major fixtures are working properly
  • Performing minor repairs
  • Maintaining the yard surrounding the house

Your goal is to polish the surface-level appearance of the home without spending too much money on it. For instance, you could clean your carpets if they are looking dirty, but installing new carpeting in a room would be an unnecessary expense.

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Posted on in Division of Property

Ilinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce lawsWhen an Illinois couple divorces, their assets are divided among them equitably. This means that rather than splitting the couple's assets down the middle, the court divides them according to what it feels would benefit each party most and accurately compensates each for his or her contributions to the marriage. But in order for the court to determine this, it must determine the monetary value of the couple's total pool of assets. For most couples, the largest piece of the asset pool is the couple's home. Houses can also fluctuate greatly in value, and it is not uncommon for real estate websites to list misleading values for houses. This is why a divorcing couple must have their home appraised by a certified real estate appraiser.

The Appraisal Process

When a real estate appraiser comes to determine a property's value, he or she begins the process with a brief chat with the property's owner. During this chat, he or she might ask questions about and special circumstances regarding the property or concerns the owner has. After this, the appraiser tours the property, taking note of aspects like room size, the materials used in the home, whether key features like the roof or heating system have been replaced or will need to be in the near future, updates the homeowners made to the home, and any special features like a finished basement or a swimming pool. These can all raise or lower the value of a property.

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marital propertyIn a divorce, one of the most important aspects is the division of the couple's marital property. This is done to ensure that each partner exits the marriage with an appropriate share of the body of assets that he or she worked to build while the couple was married. In Illinois, this is done according to the principle of equitable distribution, meaning that a couple's property is not divided 50/50, but according to a set of factors, such as each partner's income and the length of the couple's marriage. In nearly all marriages, the couple's home is the most valuable piece of property they own. However, a home's value is more than just its market price. The amount of money the couple still owes on their mortgage and the house's projected appreciation factor into its value in the property division process. To determine a fair appraisal of a couple's home, a third party appraiser might be brought in to examine all relevant factors to find its value. If a real estate appraisal is a necessary part of your divorce, your attorney can help make sure you receive a fair appraisal quote.

Work with a Reputable Appraiser

Talk to your attorney or use the internet to find a real estate appraiser who has a record of giving accurate, fair appraisals. If you can find an appraiser who has experience working with divorcing couples for this purposes, working with him or her is in your best interest. Be sure to work with an appraiser who is certified by the state of Illinois and part of a nationally-recognized appraisal organization.

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