One of the most excruciating parts of divorce is that almost any topic can cause a heated argument. Even if you and your ex-spouse have agreed to sell your home, the home’s value and listing price could be a big point of disagreement.
The best way to resolve a disagreement about the home’s value is to get the advice of trusted and knowledgeable local professionals. Here are your best options for valuing your home:
Formal Appraisal by a Licensed Property Appraiser; Cost: $375+
An appraisal is completed by a qualified professional appraiser, ideally with several years of experience in the industry. The appraiser will personally visit your property with tools and equipment so they can accurately survey your property. Most lenders hire an appraiser while writing a loan for a property, and in those cases, the buyer is typically responsible for paying for this service.
Broker Price Opinion Report by a Licensed Broker or Realtor; Cost: $50 to $100
A Broker Price Opinion, also known as a BPO, is a type of home value estimate typically provided by a licensed real estate broker or agent in response to a request from a bank. Since it is significantly less elaborate than a formal appraisal, it costs less to obtain. It’s the least common choice of homeowners and potential buyers since it’s typically a tool the bank uses to determine approximate value based almost exclusively on a very broad set of guidelines.
Comparative Market Analysis by a Licensed Realtor; Cost: FREE
A Comparative Market Analysis, also known as a CMA, is a report prepared by a real estate agent exclusively for homeowners. Typically done before listing a home, a CMA takes into account the recent sale value of the properties in the area that are the most comparable to your actual home and property. Real estate agents are willing to do the legwork involved with a CMA free of cost in hopes that they will win the homeowner’s business.
What’s Your Best Option for an Accurate Home Value?
In our opinion, the best option is a CMA. Aside from the fact that they are available for free, Realtors ensure that the figures in the CMA are as accurate and reliable as possible, because their success depends on the accuracy of their estimation. In fact, this is so much the case that even licensed appraisers often depend on local Realtors to find out recent market information, as agents have more access to sold and pending data than appraisers. They rely on Realtors because of their day-to-day knowledge and experience selling properties in the area, and because Realtors pay close attention to the physical features of the home that can significantly impact value, but are hard to quantify on paper.