Gold Supporting Member
- May 2, 2002
- Professional Status
- Certified General Appraiser
or similar in Fannie mae certification.The appraiser herein by reason of this appraisal is not required to give further consultation, testimony, or be in attendance in court with reference to the property in question unless arrangements have been previously made.
Tons of us have just such a disclaimer in our Limiting Conditions. And it is not worth the paper it is printed on. I had a trip I have been planning for 2 months. Was to leave Tuesday. Friday before, after 6pm, knock knock. Got handed a subpeona to be in court 10 am Thursday for testimony in a divorce.
I had only agreed to appraise the property because both claimed they were agreeable to whatever value I set and both would hire me. I got a check for 1/2 from each. And even after the appraisal, they went to a local friend/realtor for him to look it over, and he said it was right on what he had already told them, and that was to be that.
Nevertheless, one party decided they wanted an additional $50K from the place. No one had contacted me since I did the report about a year ago.
All this stuff about pre-trial preparation is nonsense except in a clearly adversarial situation. If you absolutely know it is going to court you are better off. You might get, gee...., ONE even THREE weeks notice instead THREE DAYS. We need to educate a few divorce lawyers about LEAD TIME. This is not arm waving stuff we can pop off the top of our heads.
Secondly, as co-clients, I cannot accept either party as a client at this point and be compensated as an expert witness. Clearly I would have a conflict of interest to take either side, although in this case, I am being subpoenaed by the defendant. I suppose I can ask the judge to certify me as an non-aligned expert witness and bill both. But to what point? Neither are likely to pay. So I go as a regular witness to fact and without preparation with either side.
I have done my last appraisal involving divorce. (as if that is possible, since I have had mortgage appraisals used as evidence in court and have been asked to testify) Otherwise, I see no alternative but to charge $3,000 and up to do a divorce appraisal. I am easily out $500+ over the trip which cannot be duplicated, at least until next year. I had worked my self into a lather this week to get ahead of the game, and now I will have a slow week to spend without pay preparing for a trial that is going to take about 10 minutes of my time. And I lose two days or more with a 50/50 chance it will settle about 10 minutes until 10 am.