Using a Realtor CMA v. Appraisal To Determine The Value Of Your Home During Divorce

As a Realtor that specializes in Divorce, the question often comes up, "Can I use a Realtor CMA for Home Value in a divorce or do I need a licensed Appraiser?  While I am not able to provide legal advice, I can offer some general information that might help you make a decision. The use of a Realtor Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) versus a licensed appraiser for determining property value in a divorce situation can depend on several factors:

In a divorce case, determining the value of a home is an important consideration, especially if the property is to be divided between the spouses or if one spouse is buying out the other's share. Both a Realtor's Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) and a Licensed Appraiser's report can be useful in this context, but they serve different purposes and have varying levels of credibility.

Realtor CMA

A CMA is a report prepared by a real estate agent that provides an estimated value of a property based on recent sales of similar properties in the area, also known as comparables. CMAs can be a helpful starting point to get a general idea of a property's market value. However, they are not as formal or comprehensive as a professional appraisal, and their accuracy may vary depending on the expertise of the realtor and the quality of the data used.

Licensed Appraiser

An appraisal is a more formal and in-depth evaluation of a property's value conducted by a licensed appraiser. Appraisers are trained to follow strict guidelines and standards to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of their valuations. Appraisals take into account factors such as the property's condition, unique features, and market trends, and they often provide a more reliable estimate of the property's value.

In a divorce case, the choice between a Realtor CMA and a licensed appraiser's report may depend on various factors, including:

Agreement Between Parties

If both spouses agree on the value of the property, either a CMA or an appraisal can suffice.

Complexity of the Property

If the property has unique features or characteristics that make it difficult to compare to other properties, an appraisal might provide a more accurate assessment.

Legal Requirements

Depending on the jurisdiction, the court may require a formal appraisal for property division in a divorce.


An appraisal generally carries more weight in a legal setting due to its formal and standardized nature.

Disagreement Between Parties

If there is a significant disagreement between the spouses regarding the property's value, obtaining a professional appraisal might help resolve the issue.

Ultimately, the decision will depend on your specific circumstances, legal requirements in your jurisdiction, and your preferences. It's often a good idea to consult with legal professionals and potentially even obtain input from both a Realtor and a licensed appraiser to make an informed choice that serves the best interests of all parties involved.

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