Valuing the house can be a major issue or a minor issue. Couples have some options here.
1. Guess. Some couples just want to guess on the value and they actually agree to that. This amazes me. But, I have to admit, it is cheap. However, I worry that the guestimate is materially inaccurate.
2. Use the property tax value. Here, the market value of the house might be understated. However, I have seen some areas where the property tax value is very close to an appraised value.
3. Get a realtor to estimate the sales value. The risk here is that the realtor will provide an asking price, not a sales value. The asking price will overstate the value.
4. Get a real appraisal. This is the method I favor the most, despite the cost. I like this one best because I feel the parties will be less likely to regret the choice of valuation method if they hire an appraiser. The cost in my general area of Texas ranges from $300 to $700.
If this is a litigated case, there might be two appraisers or realtors because each party hires their own appraiser. But if this is a collaborative case, the parties hire an agreed upon neutral appraiser and agree ahead of time to accept the value. The collaborative attorneys or the collaborative neutral financial professional usually can provide a name or two of neutral appraisers.
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