We know that divorce is not an easy process or time period, and our hearts go out to clients we help during this difficult season of life. Ultimately there are so many unexpected things that can come up during a divorce, so we make it our goal to help out by ensuring the appraisal process is as smooth as possible, and to provide you with a reliable valuation for your needs.
About half our work is appraisals for divorce and people tend to ask us what the difference is between a real estate appraisal completed for a divorce and a typical loan appraisal. Here is some insight for you:
- The divorce appraisal sometimes has a retrospective date of value, meaning that the appraised value is based upon a date in the past (the filing date) rather than today’s date. However, in light of rising values in recent years many attorneys are seeming to request current value rather than the retrospective value.
- At times attorneys will request a fair market rental value on top of the appraised value. This does not happen in every case, but it is fairly common.
- Sometimes both the retrospective value and current market value (as of today) are needed for divorce.
- The appraiser in a divorce situation may be called upon to be an expert witness if the case goes to court, so it is crucial to include additional research and data within the appraisal report to ensure that value and adjustments are clearly explained and supported.
- The divorce appraisal is not completed according to Fannie Mae guidelines as typical loan appraisals are.
- The divorce appraisal ought to be completed on a general non-Fannie Mae form since the purpose is other than a loan.
- The divorce appraisal is the same as a loan appraisal in terms of confidentiality. No information regarding the appraisal or appraised value is ever shared by me with any other party than the client who ordered the appraisal (unless required by law).
- The appraiser is bound by USPAP in both types of appraisals. “USPAP” stands for “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice” and these standards guide the appraisal profession.
- Be sure to follow the advice of your attorney and order the appraisal when your attorney or mediator says it is time to do so.
- Make sure the appraiser is comfortable testifying in court just in case. Almost everyone says, “Don’t worry, it’s not going to court,” but then it does eventually. To be fair we would say most of the time it does not go to court, but the appraiser has to be ready to testify just in case it does.
- Don’t wait until the very last minute to order the appraisal. Sometimes we get calls on a Monday stating an appraisal is needed for court testimony on a Wednesday. That’s very quick in most cases and unfortunately it ends up being more expensive for the client. Keep costs down by ordering the appraisal in a timely manner.
- In our experience it can be an advantage for a couple to hire one appraiser. This shows a spirit of cooperation and it can help foster communication too. Besides, when you begin having multiple appraisals, you may have different values. If the values are too far apart, that might complicate decisions being made about the property.
- If you don’t agree with one appraisal and the value is clearly off, it may be prudent to hire a different appraiser and even review the previous appraisals. We’ve done this on many occasions.
You are welcome to contact us with any questions or advice as far as real estate appraisals go. We are adamant about keeping confidentiality, and on top of reliable valuation services, you can expect professionalism, courtesy, punctuality, and reasonable rates. We cover multiple counties in the Greater Sacramento Region and we work regularly with both home owners and attorneys.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Lundquist Appraisal Company