If you think your divorce appraisal is just another piece of paper, think again. That piece of paper is worth money and potentially a lot of it. Whether as a consequence of your divorce you are selling your home now or using your divorce appraisal to calculate the value of your divorce settlement, your divorce appraisal can effectively increase the value of your home. But before you can understand how, you first need to understand why.

Your divorce appraisal is often the most recent and comprehensive document your divorce lawyer, mortgage broker, or buyer will have in their possession when determining how much money he or she will allocate to you, so you need to make sure your divorce appraisal is not only accurate but also comprehensive. To do that, you must arm your divorce appraiser with all of the information he or she will need to compute your divorce appraisal to the best of his or her ability, which will, in turn, make the process a faster one. By doing so, you will, at a minimum, save yourself money by keeping your divorce proceedings on schedule if not speed them up. Every day the process lags can cost you thousands of dollars, dollars you can use to begin rebuilding your life once your divorce is final.

The number your divorce appraiser assigns to your home will be the number off of which your divorce professionals and buyer will work, so it needs to be accurate. You can facilitate that by providing your appraiser with any previous appraisals you might have, regardless of how old they are, though the more recent the better. That way your divorce appraiser can be sure he or she is including every relevant detail in your current divorce appraisal. Also valuable to your divorce appraiser are your deed and land surveys you may have in your possession. Sometimes that information is difficult to come by and facilitating the search can save your divorce appraiser time and your money as a result.

Any improvements you have made to the home since those previous appraisals can also add dollars to your current divorce appraisal. Though big-ticket items such as a new kitchen or bathrooms increase your home’s value by a larger amount, so, too, will small improvements and improvements not readily seen by the divorce appraiser while walking through your home.

Improvements such as new electrical wiring and plumbing can increase the value of your home by a lot. New heating, central air conditioning compressors, and hot water heater, or what I like to call the “guts” of a house, are worth a lot more than new carpeting and a fresh coat of paint, although such cosmetic improvements shouldn’t be entirely discounted either. The point is every improvement can make a difference, and a few little ones can add up to a nice chunk of change. Therefore, even if you are not planning on selling right now, or you expect your divorce to drag on for many more months, even years, do not lose sight of the improvements you have made and continue to make to your home, which brings me to this.

Your divorce appraisal can highlight areas where you still can make changes to your house. Sometimes a little investment in the home before selling it or valuing it a second (or third) time can go a long way. For example, if on your first divorce appraisal you learn that you will need a new hot water heater in about six months or so, it may pay for you to install one now. In the scheme of home improvement costs, hot water heaters are not that expensive but, for starters, could prevent damage from occurring when an old one breaks and causes flooding, as well as offer a new buyer the peace of mind that such an occurrence is not destined for them, at least not in the near future. The same goes for small roof repairs.

Finally, do not forget to clean up, inside and out. Your divorce appraiser needs to see your home and how nice it is (or is not). Throw away excess junk and keep piles to a minimum. Invest in some curb appeal, even if it is a few flower pots at the front entrance to your home. All of these minor touches can improve the overall presentation of your home to the public, including the divorce appraiser. It sends a message that you have and are taking good care of your home. When you do, the figure on your divorce appraisal goes up.

Consider your divorce appraiser like a doctor of sorts. Nursing that bum knee now can possibly prevent a knee replacement later. In other words, listen to your divorce appraiser’s diagnosis. He or she might just keep you from bleeding money. Even better, is when your divorce appraiser’s advice can help make you some. The key is to read your divorce appraiser’s script, the appraisal, and then follow it. Guaranteed, you will feel much better in the morning, especially on divorce day.

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Call Nathan anytime at 503.349.3765 to get started and to get all of your questions answered. We look forward to talking with you and putting your mind at rest. We want to help you get through to the next stage of your life.

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