You're getting divorced and you are planning to keep the home. Your spouse is agreeable and simply wants to divide assets in a way that makes things even. You get the house, for instance, while your spouse gets the retirement fund and the cabin up north.
The first step in this process is determining what your home is really worth so that you can see exactly what other assets you'll have to give up. To do it, you'll likely hire a home appraiser.
That's when things get tricky. Not all appraisers see the same things or assign the same value. It can be helpful to get multiple quotes.
Now, many appraisers will start with similar comparable properties, or comps. These are just other houses in the area that recently sold. If your home is in a community of homes that all sell for $500,000, then your home is probably worth about $500,000.
That said, the differences often lie in the things that set your home apart, and that can be a bit of a gray area. It depends if the appraiser thinks it adds value.
For instance, maybe no one else has a pool. You added one two years ago. You love it, and you think it means your home is the most valuable in the area. Everyone would choose the home with the pool over similar homes without, right?
Not so fast. Some families actually won't even look at homes with pools because they're nervous about young kids. In this way, your unique feature could actually make the home less valuable. It's up to the appraiser to determine exactly how the home rates.
The property division process can be complicated. Be sure you know all of your legal options.
Source: Forbes, "Seven Key Points Divorcing Women Need To Know About Real Estate And Real Estate Appraisals," Jeff Landers, accessed Dec. 06, 2017