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How to determine the value of a home in divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2021 | Divorce

In most divorces, couples end up dividing the value of the family home and any other shared property between them in some way. But, in order to do this, it is imperative that Maryland couples know the value of their property. This is especially key if one party plans to “buy out” the other in some way.  

Here are some ways couples can determine the value of a home: 

  • Formal appraisal: This is the most advisable way to determine home value, as it is the most comprehensive. Typically, formal appraisals are considered the most accurate and can be most beneficial in court.
     
  • Broker price opinion (BPO): This is a report done by a real estate agent or broker. An appraiser can also produce a BPO.
     
  • Comparative market analysis (CMA): This is similar to a BPO, but focuses primarily on the recent sale prices of similar properties in the area and determines value based on these comparisons.
     

Some couples try to save funds by using an online value estimator or by referring to the valuation associated with their property taxes. However, these are generally considered to be unreliable. Online assessments are very limited in the factors they consider, and property tax assessments are not regularly updated so they do not provide a reliable picture of a home’s real-time value. 

As with anything involving the end of a marriage, there can be disagreement as to the value of a home. One spouse may have an inflated idea of what the home could be worth, for example. This is why a formal valuation may be needed before a buyout type arrangement can be discussed. However, it may not be required if a couple agrees to simply liquidate their home. To further understand the options and obligations under Maryland family law, it is a good idea to discuss home valuation considerations with a family law attorney.