In a divorce, it’s likely your martial home is one of the most valuable assets you and your spouse own. Regardless of which spouse keeps the home, the equity in the home will need to be divided. Equity is the difference between the value of the home and the amount owed in mortgages (or other liens, such as a home equity line of credit) against the property. To determine how much equity is in your home, you’ll need to determine the value of your home. This can be determined a number of ways in a divorce in Nebraska.
- You and your spouse can agree on the value of the home.
You and your spouse may do your own research to determine the value of your home. Some look at online real estate websites, such as Zillow.com to get an idea of what their home is worth. Others review the county’s tax assessed value.
However, unless both you and your spouse agree on the value of the home, this method is less accurate and less reliable than the options discussed below.
- Obtain a Comparative Market Analysis
If you and your spouse agree to amicably determine the value of your home, you can obtain a comparative market analysis from a local realtor. A comparative market analysis looks at other homes for sale in your area (or homes that have recently sold), and provide you with a general fair market value for your home. While this approach is quick and cost-effective (most realtors will do a comparative market analysis for little to no cost), it can be less accurate and it might not take into consideration some specific features or conditions of your home.
If you and your spouse agree, you can have more than one comparative market analysis completed and agree to use one of the values or agree to average the values together to reach a fair determination about the value of your home.
- Obtain an Appraisal.
The most authoritative and reliable method to determine the value of your home is an appraisal from a professional real estate appraiser. The cost of an appraisal should be considered in your decision. In Nebraska, an appraisal generally costs between $300 and $600. However, if you and your spouse vary greatly on your proposed value of the home, the expense of an appraisal may be a good investment of your money.
If you and your spouse cannot ultimately reach an agreement regarding the value of your home, an appraiser may be called as a witness at trial to testify as to the home’s value.
If you are considering a divorce, seek advice from an experienced family law attorney to assist you in determining the best method to use to value your home.