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What if divorcing spouses disagree about what a home is worth?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2023 | Divorce |

Dividing property in a divorce can devolve into a battle between spouses or it can progress as a collaborative process. The personalities of the people involved and their pool of resources will likely influence how they handle they handle this challenge.

More valuable assets often tend to cause more conflict than less valuable possessions do. Retirement accounts and family-run businesses can turn into a sticking point in modern divorces. For many Alabama couples preparing for divorce, real property, including the home where a couple lives, will be the most valuable asset they share and the biggest potential source of disagreement in their pending divorce.

Some couples fight over who will stay in the home and who will receive its comparable value in alternative assets. Other couples will fight over how they will share accrued equity in the home. One of the most difficult disagreements to settle involves a dispute about what the home is actually worth. What happens when spouses have very different ideas of how much their home is worth?

Professional assistance can resolve the disagreement

To some degree, home values are subjective. Real property is worth whatever someone willingly pays for it. If one spouse feels like the home is worth quite a bit and the other wants to keep pointing at the amount the couple originally paid for the home, bringing in a real estate professional could help resolve the issue.

An appraiser can look at the condition of the home and the sale price for houses of similar size and condition in the area. They can then use that to calculate a rough estimate of the property’s fair market value. Often, the appraisal process will give a divorcing couple a sense of confidence about the value of the home they own.

Other times, one spouse may disagree with the appraisal. In some scenarios, couples may go so far as to secure two different appraisals and then split the difference between the prices that each appraiser set for the property.

The value of the home is a major consideration

Compromising immediately on the declared value of real estate in a divorce can be a major strategic mistake. If one spouse intends to keep the home, it will be in their interest to undervalue the home, as that will minimize how much they pay to the other in equity. On the other hand, someone expecting a payout would have an interest in maximizing the value of the property so that they receive the most equity possible.

Recognizing that professional help is often necessary to settle property division disputes can empower those who are preparing for a challenging upcoming divorce involving valuable property. Sometimes, knowing when to say “I need help!” is the strongest action someone can take.