Divorce Appraisals: What to Look for in a Divorce Appraiser In SF Bay Area

Going through a divorce is a very rough time for everyone involved. It’s filled with stress, frustration, and lots of negative feelings.

But it’s essential to remember you’re not alone. 

In the United States, about 35%-39% of marriages end in divorce for every thousand married people.

Dealing with child custody is one part, but deciding what to do with your shared property, like your house and other real estate, adds another layer of complexity. You might need to sell everything and split the money, or one person can buy out the other’s share. Whatever you choose, it’s crucial to know the true value of the property.

Divorce Appraiser In SF Bay Area

That’s where a home appraisal comes into play.

You may be wondering if there’s someone who can help with property valuation during a divorce. Here’s what you need to know about divorce appraisals and the process involved, so you can navigate this challenging time with some clarity.

Yes, a divorce appraiser is necessary.

One goal of the divorce settlement process is to divide the marital assets reasonably and equitably. Your divorce attorney will advise you to hire a licensed appraiser to have an accurate assessment of your home’s fair market value as a starting point.

It is in your best interest to have your home appraised, so you know how to best move forward.

A divorce appraisal is a professional estimate of your home’s value when going through a divorce.

Property appraisals are a vital part of selling homes. They help owners set prices and ensure buyers don’t overpay.

In divorces, knowing a property’s fair value is key to dividing assets fairly. An appraisal kicks off this process.

It’s important to understand that appraisals aren’t home inspections. They don’t assess a home’s structural condition.

Appraisers must be neutral. They shouldn’t favor either party in a divorce.

What is a Divorce Appraisal in SF Bay Area

Sometimes, agreeing on an appraiser is tough, especially in contentious divorces. Each party might hire their own appraiser, and then reconcile the values later.

Appraisals typically cost $350-$400 and take 1-2 weeks, depending on the property’s size, location, and complexity.

Determining the fair market value of real property is built upon the assumption that your home value has appreciated since the time you bought it together with your spouse.

During the valuation process, a home appraiser typically looks into three major factors:

You should consider getting a local real estate expert to assess your home’s value accurately.

Actual Property Features

The appraiser will inspect the property, snapping pictures both inside and outside, noting any factors that could affect its worth.

They’ll factor in the home’s dimensions (like bedroom and bathroom count, and total area), where it’s situated, its general state, and the extras it offers (such as pools or outdoor cooking areas).

Actual Property Features In SF Bay Area

Comparable Property Data

A comparative market analysis compares properties to set a value. Real estate pros use it to figure out how much a property is worth. They check out similar properties recently sold in the same area to guess the fair market value.

Even though a CMA gives a ballpark figure for your house, it’s just part of a full appraisal. A full appraisal looks at more factors, so it’s more accurate.

Comparable Property Data In SF Bay Area

Additionally, a CMA can be manipulated–for instance, one can remove the lower priced comps resulting in a higher appraisal value. Thus, it may not legally qualify as an estimate in the divorce proceedings.

Based on the current market conditions and real estate data obtained from the actual property and comparable properties, the appraiser then performs an analysis to arrive at a figure that reflects the actual value of the home.


When the dust has settled and the fair market value of the home is determined, there’s a handful of options open to the divorcing couple regarding what to do with the family home.

It’s important to think through each option and decide the best course of action for everyone:

If the current real estate market isn’t good for selling, you and your former partner can choose to keep the property and sell it later. Remember, this means you’ll need to stay in touch, so it’s best if your divorce is friendly.

There are a myriad of reasons why buying out an ex-spouse would be considered attractive to both parties. For instance:

  • One spouse has developed an emotional attachment to the family home
  • The spouse with custody buys out the other spouse so the children can have continuity and a stable environment
  • The tax implications of selling the home outright

This buyout can be performed directly or indirectly.

In a direct buyout, the spouse who will be keeping the house will refinance the mortgage to assume liability over the property. The selling spouse will then be paid in cash for their share in the equity.

Indirect Buyout

On the other hand, in an indirect acquisition, instead of receiving cash for their share of the property, the selling partner obtains other marital assets of equal worth (such as cash, jewelry, vehicles, stocks, or bonds).

This choice is viable only if the couple possesses a significant quantity of alternative assets. If not, they must either conduct a direct acquisition or sell the property and divide the earnings accordingly.

Indirect Buyout In SF Bay Area

Sometimes, both partners might not want to keep the house due to various reasons. Perhaps it reminds them of unpleasant memories, and they both aim to start anew elsewhere… and maybe they could benefit from the money.

Regardless, selling the property appears to be the most favorable decision for all parties.

Once the sale is finalized, the funds from the real estate deal become marital assets to be divided according to state-specific property division regulations. Seek advice from your divorce lawyer on how to proceed with this matter.


Get your property ready for assessment by tidying up and getting rid of clutter. Although it won’t impact the value, it can only help.

Taking care of small fixes like repairing leaks, changing light bulbs, and fixing broken windows demonstrates ongoing upkeep. However, reaching an agreement with your former partner on repairs can be tough, leading to selling the home as-is as a common choice.

Moreover, when the assessment is happening, you or your representative should be prepared to discuss the property’s history, including any upgrades, renovations, or repairs you’ve completed over time. Providing a detailed list to the appraiser, if possible, is even better.

How Do You Prepare the Home for a Property Appraisal?

Get your property ready for assessment by tidying up and getting rid of clutter. Although it won’t impact the value, it can only help.

Taking care of small fixes like repairing leaks, changing light bulbs, and fixing broken windows demonstrates ongoing upkeep. However, reaching an agreement with your former partner on repairs can be tough, leading to selling the home as-is as a common choice.

Moreover, when the assessment is happening, you or your representative should be prepared to discuss the property’s history, including any upgrades, renovations, or repairs you’ve completed over time. Providing a detailed list to the appraiser, if possible, is even better.

How Do You Prepare the Home for a Property Appraisal in SF Bay Area

You don’t necessarily need to be home during the appraisal. You can have your lawyer, real estate agent, or a representative present so that someone can be around to answer the appraiser’s questions. Answers provided must be objective and unbiased, so you get an accurate assessment.

Sometimes, when a couple is getting divorced, they each get their own property assessment, and they don’t always agree on the value. This is common because assessors give their professional opinion on a home’s worth, so they might prioritize different things.

Another reason is when one person wants to buy out the other, they both want a valuation that works in their favor: the buyer wants a high value, while the seller prefers a lower one.

One way to resolve this is to average the two assessments and use that as the basis for negotiations. If they still can’t reach an agreement, they might need to go to court and let a judge decide.

Compared to a real estate appraisal, which is always up to date, a retrospective or historical appraisal is the determination of your home’s value sometime in the past.

This is sometimes necessary in a divorce when trying to account for the value added due to improvements done using marital funds. As such, this requires an experienced real estate appraiser with extensive local knowledge.


Divorce is a devastating and life-changing event.

When it’s time to split all the properties you own, it can be tough. There are lots of legal, practical, and money issues to deal with, which can be really hard to handle.

So, it’s totally normal if you want to move on from this part of your life quickly. To do that, you need to know how much your house is worth, fast.

That’s where We Buy Houses in SF Bay Area comes in. Just fill out the form below, and we’ll make it easy for you!

We buy houses just as they are, saving you time, cash, and effort during this tough time.

The cash offer we give you covers all the closing costs, and there are no fees from real estate agents!

Final Thoughts How to Find a Divorce Appraiser In SF Bay Area

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If you’re tired of the usual selling process and don’t want to deal with real estate agents and their fees, just give us a call at (408) 557-7554.


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Gagan Saini

Author: Saini

My name is Saini, and I founded the We Buy Houses in SF Bay Area team with years of experience in the real estate industry. I have assisted numerous sellers in selling their homes quickly, “AS-IS”, and for a fair price.

He’s been featured in multiple publications including Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates, LegalZoom, The Mortgage Report, Apartment Therapy, US News and World Report, and SuperMoney among others.

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