Opinion of Value – What is it?

What is your home worth?  Do a search online and you will be flooded with real estate sites that offer “free home evaluations”, “Opinions of Value” and a free “Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)” to help you determine what your home is worth in today’s market.

What is the difference between these terms?

All forms of market evaluations are a good starting point to pricing your home for sale. Unlike a formal appraisal as required by banks, CMAs simply provide comparable data regarding sales of properties in the area or similar communities. This gives you a range for the potential value of your home (perceived by a buyer) and is used to kick start the pricing and marketing strategy discussion with a Realtor®.

In addition to a CMA, an Agent may also provide you with an Opinion of Value. This is a written letter that provides a summary of the agent’s research along with their opinion of the market value of your home.

In a situation where accurate value matters, such as in a divorce scenario, getting both parties to agree on a sale price for the marital home can sometimes be a challenge. An Opinion of Value can help as it provides a starting dollar value for discussion. A couple can still negotiate on an agreed selling price, and starting from a single number rather than a range can make this process easier.

In the case where divorce, estate sales, or a very unique one-of-a-kind property requires a more accurate number, a qualified residential appraiser (CRA™) can be hired to do a more in-depth assessment of the home’s value. One of the services I provide to my sellers is the cost of this appraisal if we really cannot determine the value of the home due to the lack of comparable sales.

My specialized training allows me to be a court-appointed Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE™) and when asked to provide an Opinion of Value letter by a lawyer, or if a judge should be involved, I will stand by my opinion and testify in court. This is an uncommon practice with most Realtors®.

So, when a specific number is required, rather than just a range, ask a Realtor® for an Opinion of Value. In situations of divorce, consider using a neutral third party certified in divorce real estate.

Have questions or looking to get an opinion on your home’s value? Get in touch with me today.

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