The Importance of an Appraiser During a Divorce

Published by Jason Ferris on

Life throws you curve balls…..that is why it is important for you or your attorney to hire an appraiser when you need to value commonly owned real estate. Unfortunately, divorce rates are higher than ever and when you are going through this process you want to make sure to do things correctly. Below are tips and scenarios that will help you understand an appraiser’s role during a divorce situation:

Scenario 1: Both parties agree on an appraiser to value the home. In most
cases the home is a couple’s biggest asset.

Scenario 2: Each party hires their own appraiser. Usually, this recommended by each party’s divorce lawyer.

Scenario 3: The court appoints an appraiser, or appraisers, to value the property.

The Appraisal Process: For a current market value, our appraisers research and gather data on similar homes that have recently sold or are currently offered for sale in a specific area surrounding the subject property. Once that is complete, we inspect the home, complete our valuation, then transmit the report, usually as a PDF via email.   It is important to note that appraisers are independent and are not advocates for any client, owner, or party to the real estate. We are advocates for our own work only.

Adverse Effects: There are a few variables that can decrease the value of a
1. Over-improvements that don’t fit with the neighborhood, such as a 6-car garage in a neighborhood with 2-car garages.
2. Dated or atypical décor, such as shag carpet, wood paneling, or old kitchens and baths or walls painted bright neon green.
3. Repairs that are not going to be fixed by either party. We refer to this as “deferred maintenance” since a buyer will discount their offer price based on the cost of needed repairs.

Values Determined: Once the appraisal report is completed, the appraiser might or might not be required to testify on his or her work. Remember, we are only advocates for our report, not our client or a homeowner.

Listing: If applicable, based on the advice and appraisal, the home is priced
and then put on the market, typically by an experienced Realtor.

Have your Realtor help with the following:
•Compile a list of repairs, renovations or remodeling that were made to the home since it was purchased, with an approximate cost and month and year. This should be given to the appraiser during inspection.

  • Staging, to avoid the appearance of a stressed sale situation, the home may be staged.
    • If one or both parties are still living in the home, they should reach an
    agreement on when the house can be shown.
    • Once an offer is made, both parties then must agree to accept the offer or
    • Once the closing is near, the commission goes to the agents and the sale
    money is then divided equally or according to the terms of the divorce.When going through a divorce, you can rely on the professionals at BellFerris to provide a reliable, accurate indication of the value of the real estate. Give us a call today at 502-992-8202or visit
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