February 16, 2023

Divorce Appraiser

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Divorce Appraiser

Divorce Appraiser

The division of the marital home and other marital assets cannot be avoided during a divorce. And since many states in the US are under equitable distribution, it makes sense to seek the service of a divorce appraiser to accurately determine the value of the properties a couple owns. 

A divorce appraiser is a professional that can determine the fair market value of a property. They provide accurate numbers that a divorcing couple can work on when it comes to the division of their assets. 

If you are going through the divorce settlement process and looking for an appraiser, this blog is for you. This offers answers to FAQs regarding divorce appraisal and tips on finding a licensed appraiser.

What Is a Divorce Appraisal?

What Is a Divorce Appraisal?

A divorce appraisal is quite similar to a traditional mortgage appraisal. The only difference is the appraiser knows how to handle heightened emotional issues between the couple.

Although not often, divorce appraisers testify in court for divorce proceedings in case of retrospective appraisal. Hence, they should really be a neutral third party and aren't a friend or relatives of the couple.

Divorce appraisals are meant to identify the home's value and marketability by looking into the property's age, location, size, number of rooms, basic features, quality of home construction, and some other factors, just like in a typical appraisal.

An appraiser uses standard appraisal forms, typically called GPAR forms (General Purpose Appraisal Forms).

Since having a licensed real estate professional provide a comparative market analysis won't do during divorce settlements, appraisals are necessary.

Important note: If the marital home is sold outright in the local market and the buyer is obtaining mortgage financing, the mortgage lender cannot use the appraisal acquired during the settlement agreement. The mortgage company should require another property appraisal for the mortgage process to commence.

How to Prepare for a Divorce Home Appraisal?

How to Prepare for a Divorce Home Appraisal?

First off, the level of preparation that needs to be made depends on whether the house is being sold outright or if one spouse is buying out the other.

If both spouses agree to sell in the local market, extreme preparations should be made to get the property's highest appraised value. This means doing a complete home inspection and making repairs according to the result.

Aside from the physical preparation of the marital home, the couple should also get in touch with a certified divorce lending professional so the future buyer can get successful mortgage financing.

Meanwhile, if one spouse is buying out the other, then the goal is probably the lowest appraised market value if they are on good terms. To achieve this, not making any repairs or upgrades is suggested.

Where to Find a Divorce Appraiser?

Where to Find a Divorce Appraiser?

The best way to find a licensed residential appraiser is by asking your divorce attorney for a referral.

Since they have handled many divorce cases, they may already have a list of appraisers they have worked with before. Also, most attorneys primary concern is to get you a neutral and honest appraiser to speed up the divorce settlement process.

You can also ask around for divorce appraisers near you. Your real estate agent might also know one that is trustworthy.

Since divorce is pretty common these days, you'll surely find a few of them. Just make sure that they are living locally so they understand the current real estate market and that they have strong attention to detail.

Always do a background check and look for the appraiser's license. Also, check if they haven't been suspended before for doing an appraisal of residential real estate.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce Appraisal for a Home?

How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce Appraisal for a Home?

Most appraisers can accomplish a divorce appraisal within three days. Of course, the exact length of time depends on the size of the property and some other factors.

The process would also depend on the appraisal company you are working with. Most of them gather data to verify ownership of the property and data about the current real estate market in your area before paying the house a visit.

After they have carefully analyzed the data, they would then do a "home observation," where they take measurements and photos of your home. They also do some more verification and data collection.

When this is done, they'll write a divorce appraisal report that you can use in court.

Who Pays for the Service of the Divorce Appraiser?

The fee of a licensed appraiser is often divided equally between the couple. The cost can range from $250 to $500 depending on the size of the real estate and appraisal complexities.

In the case of buying out the other spouse to keep the property, the buyer would have to pay for the divorce appraisal. But it is still best to obtain legal and tax advice from professionals before making any financial decisions.

What Happens if Spouses Don’t Agree on the Appraisal Report?

If both spouses do not agree on the appraisal report, the court may intervene and appoint an appraiser to assess the home's actual value. But in most cases, both parties hire their own divorce appraisers.

Hiring separate appraisers usually solve the issue. But if the same valuation wasn't presented by the appraisers, many couples just split the difference to avoid prolonging the appraisal process.

If the difference is wide, however, a judge would reconcile the values to settle the problem.

Should You Be Present for Home Appraisal During Divorce?

Should You Be Present for Home Appraisal During Divorce?

There are no hard and fast rules here. You may or may not be present during a divorce appraisal. This would depend on your availability and your agreement with your ex-spouse.

Since there should be someone who will accompany the divorce appraiser in your marital home and answer all the latter's questions, you may ask a real estate agent or your lawyer to represent you.

The Best Alternative to Residential Real Estate Appraisers

The Best Alternative to Residential Real Estate Appraisers

Finding a divorce appraiser near you is by no means easy. Sure, you'll find ones who claim they are backed by years of experience in the professional appraisal practice, but they are actually frauds.

Many of these people use the most common appraisal form, which is the Universal Residential Appraisal Report Form – URAR 1004, thinking it is the "standard appraisal form" used for divorce.

They aren't aware of the GPAR or the General Purpose Appraisal Report so they make an invalid appraisal.

To skip appraisal, you may want to sell your house to a cash buyer. These people won't require an appraisal report during the divorce process and will give you a fair cash offer based on their own assessment of your home. 

When you take this path, you reduce the time you need to communicate with your ex-spouse, you save thousands of dollars preparing your home for the appraisal, you avoid appraisal bias and conflicts, and you won't worry about the lawyer, tax professional, and financial advisor fees.

Final Thoughts: Divorce Appraiser

Dividing marital assets when divorcing can be quite stressful emotionally and financially. It requires hiring a divorce appraiser to identify the value of a property and this isn't for free. Some inexperienced appraisers presenting appraisals can also use the wrong form, which could prolong the divorce proceedings.

If you want to skip divorce appraisal and your ex-spouse has agreed to sell your home, contact a cash buyer now.

Here at House Buyer Network, we'll give you a cash offer without asking for an appraisal report. We'll also cover closing costs and other fees related to the sale.

If you are interested, give us a call at (855) 835-2544 or fill out our form below!

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catherine mack
Author: Catherine Mack

Catherine Mack is a seasoned real estate investor and enjoys sharing her expertise through writing on relevant real estate topics. Catherine aims to educate home sellers, so they can make the best decision for their real estate problems.

She’s been featured on a plethora of publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Acorns, Realtor.com, Apartment Therapy, MSN, Yahoo Finance, HomeLight, and Business.com.

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