If you have ever held your breath during a home appraisal, you are not alone. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, the process can be stressful. If you are the seller, you likely want to unload your home and move on. If you are a buyer, you are probably counting the days until you can move in. Either way, the process can be aggravating, especially since you wait with anticipation not only to find out what the home appraises for, but also whether the home is in need of any repairs. Even more challenging is when you are a seller, and your home appraisal is a part of your divorce, which makes it that much more critical you value it appropriately. The need for repairs can change that number drastically.

Not all repairs are created equal. A suggestion from your divorce home appraiser to caulk the shower is not the same as him or her discovering that there is a crack in the home’s foundation, that the electrical wiring in the house is faulty, or that there is mold. Often, these repairs come as a surprise to the homeowner who may legitimately never knew they existed. Once the divorce appraiser discovers those defects, however, you may find yourself under the gun to get the repairs done in a hurry. You may also risk losing your deal or, not as drastically, money in your deal as buyers sometimes use the appraisal as a sticking point at which to re-open negotiations about the price or closing date, among other considerations.

To avoid unwanted surprises and being forced to correct them in a hurry, you might want to consider doing a mock walk-through of your home first with a trusted or a few trusted professionals who are well-versed in the various aspects of construction. Or, alternatively, enlist the aid of separate professionals including a roofer, plumber, and electrician if you suspect that your home has issues that may need addressing before the closing.

Of course, you can always roll the dice and hope your divorce home appraiser doesn’t make any unwanted discoveries. If you are in the middle of a divorce, you may be worried about how much those home repairs might cost you while you are already shelling out big bucks to your lawyers. The problem is, a skilled divorce home appraiser is going to find those areas of your home in need of attention, and you are going to have to correct them anyway. By waiting, you risk losing your deal or delaying the closing of it, inevitably delaying your divorce, which will cost you much more in time and money than most home repairs ever could. And, as anyone who is going through a divorce or divorced now can tell you, that is additional stress you just don’t need.

Contrary to what you may have heard, your divorce home appraiser is not out to get you. He or she wasn’t sent in by your estranged spouse on the sly to make your life harder or give you a low-ball appraisal to get you get less money in your settlement. A reputable divorce home appraiser looks out for all of the parties involved in the home’s sale. In other words, your divorce home appraiser is a neutral party. The real purpose of your divorce home appraisal runs far deeper than how it can impact the sale price of your home. Though we all know how important that figure can be, especially when used in conjunction with calculating a divorce settlement, a thorough home appraisal can save lives.

A home may be the largest purchase a couple ever makes and their most valuable asset should they eventually divorce. But, more than that, a home is where a family comes to hang their hats, raise their families, make beautiful memories, and lay their heads on their pillows at night. A comprehensive home appraisal helps ensure that the home is a safe haven for new homeowners to do that. It is not that your divorce home appraiser is nit-picking at your home to find out what is wrong with it. It is that your divorce home appraiser cares — about all of you.

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