Appraising the Matrimonial Home

Wednesday Apr 29th, 2020


Picture this: you are going through a divorce and your lawyer or mediator has advised you to have an appraisal done on the home you shared with your soon-to-be ex.


This may be hard to hear and you likely don’t know who to call. I know I didn’t when I was going through the process 11 years ago myself. Who can you trust to be fair and objective? Who will be knowledgeable, credible, compassionate and professional?


Whether you are being forced to sell your home due to these circumstances or even if you would like to sell and move on – it can be very hard to let go. If you are looking to buy your former spouse’s interests in the house it can be equally challenging to get to the point where you agree on the numbers. After all, they too will likely be having their own appraisal done.


Having an appraisal done by a qualified third party is a must. Knowing the real and current value of the home is vital for prudent decision-making and conducting fair negotiations. It will also help you to feel empowered to some degree - which is just as important in these situations where many things feel like they are out of your control. Remember this always -knowledge is power.


Now let me arm you with the information you need…


What Is an Appraisal?


An appraisal is an assessment of what is considered to be the value of the home– also known as the “market value”.  Market value, in short, is the highest estimated monetary value a property will bring in if listed for sale on the open market. In other words, it is how much money someone would be willing to pay for your property.


Sometimes appraisal values are required for both the date of separation as well as “today’s date.” This will depend on many issues in the context of your specific situation.


Who Can Do an Appraisal for You?


In the past, only a certified appraiser’s report was acceptable to lawyers, mediators and judges. Nowadays, qualified real estate agents can also provide appraisals. In fact, most divorce proceedings today use appraisals conducted by real estate agents.


Top Questions You Should Ask


Before hiring just any real estate agent to do your appraisal, be sure to verify that they really are qualified to do the job.


Here are a few questions you should ask any potential appraisers:


  • How often do you do property appraisals?
  • How familiar are you with my type of property? My neighbourhood?
  • What is your experience in working with divorcing couples?
  • What are your fees?
  • How soon can you visit the property?
  • How quickly can you produce a report?
  • Can I see a sample of an appraisal report you have conducted?


In challenging circumstances such as going through a divorce, having an experienced professional on your side can make the process run smoothly. Making sure the person you hire is truly looking out for your best interests, understands your situation and can be supportive will make this process much easier on you.


If you have any questions about appraisals or selling your matrimonial home, please contact me directly by phone at 416-820-3006 or by email at It would be my pleasure answer your questions and assist you in any way that I can.

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