Shane Pellerin Law Firm Probate LawyerCouples divorcing in the Houston area may assume that many of the decisions regarding the split of property is dependent upon a family law judge when divorcing. But a recent article in Forbes reminds couples to be careful in making sure that the correct real estate appraisals are done to be certain that the division of property in the divorce is fair.

Accurate negotiations of the division of property is dependent upon a fair and impartial assessment of the property that will be split. The expertise of a local real estate appraiser is key in all property divisions. If a divorcing couple is splitting a primary residence in addition to a vacation home, for example, it’s important to be sure to have a knowledgeable real estate appraiser who is very familiar with the local market in both locations to ensure a fair division of property in the divorce.

The real estate appraisal will be based upon comparable sales in the area. The appraiser will determine fair market value based upon similar properties that have recently sold in the same market. Different real estate appraisers may value unique features very differently, and because of this many judges throughout the Houston area may recommend that a third, objective real estate appraiser determine the property’s value.

As property is assessed for its fair market value, it can be hard to accept that some of the improvements that have been added may not add even the amount of value that they initially cost to install. A dispassionate, professional real estate appraiser will accurately and fairly assess the value of the home. Sometimes a divorcing couple will need to get a historial or retrospective real estate appraisal that determines the house’s value at some point in the past. For example, if a woman marries a man and moves into a house that he already owns, an appraisal may need to be used to determine the value of the home at the time that the couple moved in together.

Another point for divorcing couples to remember is that equity in property is not that same as cash or money in the bank. Capital gains taxes surprise many divorcing couples when they realize the money that they owe to both the Federal and the State governments.

A knowledgeable real estate appraiser that specializes in the appraisal of homes in the Houston area can be an important key to ensuring that the split of property is done fairly. If you’d like to discuss more regarding how to find the right appraisal for your home, we’d be happy to help. Contact the Pellerin Law Firm today if you’d like to discuss the importance of fair property division when facing a divorce.

Source: Forbes, “Seven Key Points Divorcing Women Need to Know About Real Estate and Real Estate Appraisals,” Jeff Landers, February 22, 2013