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Real estate appraisals can be valuable divorce tools

Colorado spouses who are preparing to divorce have a multitude of issues to attend to. The process can seem overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. One area of concern involves real estate holdings owned by the family, and how to appropriately distribute those holdings during the divorce. When working with real estate transactions, a professional appraisal can be a valuable tool, regardless of whether a couple plans to sell or keep their primary residence.

When one spouse plans to retain the family home, an appraisal can help establish the value of the property, which can assist both spouses in negotiating the details of their eventual divorce settlement. While there are a wide range of options available to divorcing couples, in most cases the spouse who leaves the home can expect to receive some form of compensation for his or her share of the value of the home. Therefore, establishing the value of the property is an important step in the divorce process.

When a couple plans to sell the family home and divide the proceeds, having a professional estimation of value in place at the beginning of that process can help everyone involved know what to expect. At the same time, an appraisal is best thought of as a snapshot of a home's value relative to that of recently sold homes in the same area and price range. That snapshot can and will shift over time, and there are a number of factors that can cause the estimated value to rise and fall over time. An appraisal is most accurate in the first few months, and can be virtually useless in as little as a year later.

Colorado couples who are moving through the divorce process should know that while there are many issues to consider and details to address, this is a process that has a definitive end. Both parties should ensure that they are making financial decisions that will benefit their future. Working with an accurate real estate appraisal is an important aspect of informed decision-making.

Source: Forbes, "Seven Key Points Divorcing Women Need To Know About Real Estate And Real Estate Appraisals," Jeff Landers, Jan. 22, 2013

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