At A Quality Appraisal, we get calls every day from
Portland area homeowners who are seeking an appraisal for divorce
purposes. We are experts in appraisals
for divorce and understand that there is a big difference between appraisals written
for divorce and other appraisals, such as refinance. (Click here for a
blog post explaining those dissimilarities.)
Recently, I had a long conversation with a Portland attorney who pointed
out yet another important distinction that anyone ordering an appraisal for
divorce should recognize.
That difference is discovery. If one of the parties in a divorce obtains an
appraisal, it can, by law, become discoverable by the opposing side. Since appraisers are independent and unbiased
parties who cannot advocate for one party or the other, the findings of an
appraisal report might turn out to be beneficial to the other party in
The solution is to ask your attorney to request the
appraisal and to be the appraiser’s client and intended user noted in the
report. The divorcing party can still
interact with the appraiser for scheduling and to provide information. Ordering by the attorney means that the
appraisal report can be kept confidential from the other party in litigation if
the results are not beneficial to your case.
This attorney’s advice was to pay a few extra dollars to have your
attorney manage the appraisal which could save you some negotiating leverage
later. I recommend that you discuss this
factor with your attorney before ordering an appraisal for divorce.
Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the
conversation? Let me know in the
If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this
blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook. Also, please support us by making Portland
real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos. If you need Portland, Oregon area residential
real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request
appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at
your next event. We
will do everything possible to assist you.
Thanks for reading,
Last week a client asked me the following question (which is edited for clarity).
“I need to have my house appraised due to a divorce. Is there any difference between a divorce appraisal and a refinance appraisal?”
The answer is yes. While the appraisal report may look outwardly similar, there are four key differences between appraisals done for divorce and those done for other factors like finance or refinance. Appraisers are required by licensing laws to determine the appropriate research and reporting (the scope of work), given the intended use and intended user, that will yield credible results. A divorce appraisal has a different intended use, user, and scope of work from that of an appraisal done for a loan or a lender.
Refinance appraisals are centered on the lender requirements, use, type of form, and other needs. For example, an appraiser for a refinance might point out that there is a repair necessary given the lender’s minimum property requirements. The lender might require that the appraisal be made with the condition that the issue has been repaired (“subject to”) and then the lender would choose not to fund the loan until the repair is completed. On the other hand, a divorce appraisal is made “as is” which may result in a very different value conclusion.
A divorce appraisal can often become a point of contention between the involved parties. Occasionally, an appraiser must testify in court to defend the analysis and conclusions made within the report. Appraisers who perform such appraisals typically have specialized training, in addition to standard licensing, which helps to prepare them for a courtroom appearance. Divorce appraisals are presented in a manner that anticipates the potential for legal testimony.
A divorce appraisal might be timelier than a refinance appraisal. Typically, a refinance appraisal is done close to the date of the refinance while a divorce appraisal can be effective on any date specified by the client, which might be the date of separation. Real estate markets change quickly and just a few months can mean many thousands of dollars. Even when prices are stable here in Portland, Oregon values will often swing by five percent from the winter low to the summer high. Consult with your attorney to be sure on the correct date of value (effective date) when ordering an appraisal for divorce.
Refinance appraisal reports are presented on a different form than divorce appraisals. Strictly speaking, the appraisal report form does not matter from a standpoint of analysis. However, most lending and refinance appraisal forms are preprinted with statements specifying that the intended use is for mortgage finance purposes. (See the image at the top of this post.) In a divorce, such statements could discredit the entire appraisal report.
Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation? Let me know in the comments below.
If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook. Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos. If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event. We will do everything possible to assist you.