How Real Estate is Valued in a High Asset Divorce

Real estate assetsReal estate in a high asset divorce can pose many challenges.

A couple’s home is typically their most valuable asset. In many instances when a family is dividing, one spouse retains ownership of the primary residence.

However, some divorcing couples own more than one home. In addition to making a decision about the main home, they must also come to terms with dividing multiple properties. The situation can get dicey and turn into a legal battle if they’re unable to reach an agreement.

It’s important to obtain an accurate value on any and all real estate in a marriage. This ensures the divorce settlement is fair to both spouses.

How do you value real estate in a high asset divorce?

There are three options:

Real Estate Appraisal

A real estate appraisal utilizes the expertise of a licensed appraiser. It’s one of the more expensive methods for valuing real property and might cost several hundred dollars. However, it ensures the valuation is complete and accurate.

In the long run, a real estate appraisal can save you a great deal of money and you can be confident the value is accurate.

Property values change over time, and there are many external factors that determine the value of a property as well (see this article on the property valuation process for new buyers for more information on value trends). If you use an older valuation when dividing assets in a divorce, it can cost you. For instance, let’s say you want to retain ownership of a home and the previous assessor’s calculation of the home was $650,000. The most recent appraisal value, though, puts it around $600,000. This is $25,000 less in equity you’d owe, but you’d never know that if you use the older valuation.

A real estate appraisal is a great tool for putting an end to any arguments over the value of any property. It brings in a neutral third party and alleviates any disputes that might be ongoing.

To learn more about getting a fair appraisal, check out this article from Total Mortgage.

Comparative Market Analysis

A comparative market analysis is another option for appraising the value of real estate.

It costs less than a real estate appraisal and can be done by a realtor. It provides you with the fair market value of your home by comparing it to other recently sold or for-sale homes in the area.

It’s less accurate than a real estate appraisal because it does not take into account the specific details of your property. However, it gives an up-to-date general value that can help you with negotiating.


If you want to avoid any cost associated with a real estate appraisal, a self-appraisal is a good option.

Self-appraisals are done using an internet search to assess a home’s value. The court does not consider this an accurate home valuation. This means if there is a dispute over the result of a self-appraisal, you’ll likely be ordered to use a comparative analysis or real estate appraisal.

A self-appraisal might be the right tool if you and your spouse are mostly in agreement over the value of the home.

Benefits of Having an Accurate Value on Property in a High Asset Divorce

An accurate appraisal is an important part of dividing property in a high asset divorce. It ensures both spouses are treated fairly and that spouses who do not retain ownership of unsold property are compensated adequately.

If you’d like to know more about valuing real estate in a high asset divorce or you have questions in general about divorce, contact Gourvitz & Gourvitz, LLC at (973) 467-3200 or (212) 586-1700.

Gourvitz & Gourvitz LLC.

New Jersey
505 Morris Avenue
Suite 102
Springfield, New Jersey 07081
Telephone: (973) 467-3200
Fax: (973) 467-4091
New York
142 West 57th St
11th Floor
New York, New York 10019
Telephone: (212) 586-1700

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