In many Illinois divorces, one of the most valuable assets is normally the family home. This can make it a source of contention during property settlement negotiations. One of the most important things that homeowners going through a divorce can do is to ensure they obtain the accurate value of their home in order to ensure they both receive the fairest settlement possible.

One of the best ways to get the right home value would be to enlist the aid of a licensed home appraiser. This can cost someone several hundred dollars, which could initially be daunting. However, the appraisal has the potential to save money in the future, especially if the home value currently being used is incorrect. If the home value comes back lower than what is expected, it could actually result in a lower settlement to the spouse, making the appraisal a good investment. On the other hand, if the current home value is too low, and an appraisal comes back higher, the other spouse could benefit because the settlement could actually be higher.

Realtors can also assist divorcing couples by performing an action called a Comparative Market Analysis. This can sometimes be given for free and provide the couple the current fair market amount for their home. The analysis examines homes currently for sale, or those that have recently sold, and compares it with the value of the couple’s home. Although this is a less costly option, it should be noted that it is not as accurate as receiving an appraisal.

However an Illinois couple decides to value their home, it is a step that has the potential to save money for both parties in the long run, especially if there is an argument over the value of the home. In the event an appraisal doesn’t settle a quarrel, the appraiser could be called to testify about the home if the divorce goes to trial. Taking the time to have the home appraised could be a smart step, especially if one side is fighting to keep the home.

Source: Huffington Post, “Three Ways To Value Your Home In A Divorce,” Joseph Cordell, March 1, 2013