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Probate and Estate Litigation Blog

How does one value a family home?

One of the most common and most valuable items that Minnesota residents usually find in a probate estate or a trust is a family residence or similar piece of real estate. Sometimes, these homes are relatively modest and pretty easy to put a value on by asking a realtor for a market analysis or even just selling the property to keep all parties happy.

However, in the case of expensive homes or unique homes, it might be hard to place a value on the residence without some extra thought and analysis. Moreover, when there are probate disputes surrounding an estate or trust, it may be hard to get an agreement on anything, even something simple like which realtor should sell the family home. Also, in some cases, a family or an individual in the family may not want to put the home on the market.

In such cases, many families will hire an appraiser to put a value on the home. Although even the appraiser's determination can sometimes be disputed in court, an appraisal is generally regarded as a reliable way to put a value on a house, and, thus, give a clearer picture of who is entitled to what in a probate matter.

When doing their work, appraisers will look at what similar homes sold for in the recent past, operating under the assumption that like houses selling at close to the same time would sell for the same price.

However, because in reality no two houses or housing markets are exactly the same, the appraiser will also look that the current state of the home, the precise size of the home and the number of similar homes already available to prospective buyers. When reviewing previous sales, the appraiser will also take account of any market condition that have changes since the time of the previous sale.

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