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Appraisal for divorce

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Lee SW IL

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Received my 1st request for an appraisal due to divorce.

I advised the attorney, fee does not cover any need for court cost, and will restate that in a letter accompanying the report.

Other than that is there anything else different about an appraisal for a divorce?
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
My spin?

Do it as a summary narrative, not a URAR.

Do all three approaches to value, even if you heavily discount 2 of them. The courts favor 3 approaches.

Do a complete appraisal, not a limited one. Ditto about the courts.

Modify your definition of Market Value to fit the courts (or your att'y's definition). Depending upon whose side you are on, A Fair Market Value definition which states the HIGHEST probable price as opposed to the TYPICAL price may favor the client.

Research each and every comparable down to an interview with either or both the seller and buyer. Provide no more comps than you have to. Submit the report to the attorney as confidential to them. They may have to disclose it but in the event they do not wish to, they can use that confidentiality statement as a reason not to disclose.

Remember. One or the other of them are not going to be happy campers with your appraisal.
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Wear ear muffs, so that neither party can get to your ears. 8)

Good advise from Terrel. This is no time for a limited report. Do your appraisal, especially your interviews and work file, as if both sides are going to look for holes and shoot arrows in every direction. Plan on being called to testify, so make sure that your thoughts are very clear in the appraisal and work file. Take extra time to jot down and document every little thing; maybe even keep a log of conversations and content so that you don't get drug into a he said/she said argument. I was taught long ago that it will still be your word against theirs. But it is really impressive, to the judge, when you have the date, and time while giving your rendition of the conversation.
 

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Document, document, document, etc. An appraiser in my office did an appraisal for a divorce and then received a summons to court. He had to call the one he did the appraisal for and tell her that he charged for court testimony, etc. He did do it on a 1004 with explanatory addendums. If you decide to do a summary, then remember that your work file is confidential and you do not have to produce it unless the court demands it. However, you may actually wish to do a really, really complete work file and take it along. Of course, as others suggested you could simply do a "complete".

The opposing attorney was well versed in appraisal language, up to and including age/life depreciation, Marshall and Swift, etc. etc. and you had better know USPAP backwards and forwards.
 

George W Dodd

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
Make sure to collect your fee UPFRONT!

Or you could wait a long time.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Ditto, MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID FIRST! Lawyers tend to forget to pay experts. Make sure that you double check all of your data. I disagree with the comments on definition of market value, use the definition which you are comfortable with since you should be able to defend it with ease. Remember they are using you as an expert, act like an expert and most lawyers will . accept your conclusions. I do lots of court work and I find it enjoyable and profitable, enjoy it, you don't have do deal with loan officers or underwriters.
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Lee --

You can do a straight out URAR.

Word it in such a way that the parties heading for the big divide can read it without you having to interpret too many codewords.

The most important thing before you begin is to find out if you are representing both parties and if the attorney ordering the appraisal is representing both parties. Sounds silly to ask? No, there's enough pitfalls -- the attorney(s) often sees you as an advocate for one, all, or everybody. You have to know (establish) who's on first!
 

Lee SW IL

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Ahhhh, this is going to a fun one.

Yes I already received my check for this one and cashed this puppy.

This was ordered from the husbands attorney. Wife still lives in the home
She told me her life story and that the ex is a good ole SOB.

I just shake my head and smile, really wanting to tell her to shut the hell up so I can do my job.

I am going to do this on a URAR, since that is what I am most familar with, and would be easier for me to explain to both parties if needed.

As luck would have it, this home was on the market from 8/01 to 02/02, Listing was withdrawn by the homeowner. Talked with the agent that had the listing, in her opinion, she stated it would have sold no problem in the spring for the listed price. Home sales typically are not as active in the fall/winter homes in this area. And this year has been the most active in home sales.


Thanks for the great replies.
 

Eminent Domain

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I was told once by an old appraiser that when you do divorce work you have done an excellent job when you pi** both sides off :roll: . I said why? And he replied, "Well since one wants it high and the other wants it low when you pi** both sides off you are right in the middle where you need to be. :wink: "

bf
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
North Carolina
Lee

This work, lawyers dub it "equitable distribution" was my bread and butter for 12 years, after the first year, I almost always got hired by both sides. Saved every body time and money.

Good advice provided by every one, I ultimately went to nothing but a heavily formated narrative report. The URAR was designed for lending and "fixing" the form so the term lender did not appear, describing the client, the purpose, stating intended user was just too hard.

Be sure you state something like the following regarding the users. My client is Attorney Smith for the purpose of litigation pursuant to equitable distribution of the marital assest of the property owners. No other intended users or uses have been identified. Specifically, parties who recieve this report through disclosure requirements of my client are not intended users in the context of USPAP.

Be sure you get the date right ;something like, The effective date of the appraisal is xx Octber 2000, the date of separation (this is typical in NC check with your attorney for the requirements in your state) , the date of the property inspection was xx September 2002. As this is a retrospective appraisal, some assumptions regarding the condition of the property have been made, see property description for discussion of assumptions..

Charge more and as you note charge for court time. Also, it is legit to charge for standing by. If the attorney says, we may need you on Monday or Tuesday, charge something for having lost the flexibility to do other work. The attorney will understand, the property owner won't like it but this is a business.

The final thing, if asked to testify or make a deposition, try to anticipate the weaknesses of your work. This will help you answer the hard questions.

Regards

Tom Hildebrandt GAA
 
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