When considering whether you would like to keep your home post-divorce, the value of the home should be an important decision-making factor. In most cases, if you kept your home, you would buy-out your spouse’s interest. A basic calculation for determining this interest is the value of the home minus any current loans. To determine the value of the home (most commonly called the FMV or fair market value), a few approaches may be taken.
Most commonly recommended by the court, a professional appraiser reviews your home to determine the value based on factors, such as market trends, home and lot size, condition of the home, appliances, upgrades, etc. This can be the most costly option, but can also be the most reliable in many markets.
A real estate professional can run a comp (or comparable) analysis on your home by reviewing the homes in the area that are similar to yours. They will give you a range of values for your home, dictating what they believe it could sell for today. A realtor will often run a comp analysis for free or a minimal fee.
Websites such as Zillow and Redfin typically offer an estimated value for your home. This is the least reliable option for determining home value, as it is solely based on the sites' algorithms.
Although it may be preferable to keep costs low during your separation process, the value of your home can drastically affect the outcome of your agreements. It is important that you confer with a professional and commit to a valuation that you believe is fair.