According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal “in a divorce, there is one person who is almost as important as lawyers: the real estate appraiser.”
Over the past ten years property values have gone up and gone down dramatically. Estimating the value of a home can be complicated at times but never more so than in divorce cases where the home is often times the largest asset being divided. Both the husband and the wife often times have different ideas about how to divide the property. No one wants to lose in these cases.
Even if a settlement agreement has been reached or if a judge decides that a property is to be divided at trial, the value of any real estate holdings must be valued. The equity in the home (the value over and above any existing mortgages) must be divided between the parties. If one spouse decides to keep the house, that person must be buyout the other spouse’s share or relinquish other assets equal in value to the other spouse’s share. Determining the value of the home is crucial in determining the amount of the buyout.
An appraisal for divorce requires a thorough, well supported analysis and estimate of value that is defensible in court. The appraisal needs to be completed by an appraiser with experience in providing both a current estimate of the value of the home as well as a retrospective value. One or both of these values may be required by the courts. A retrospective appraisal develops the value of the property based upon a date in the past. Often times one of the spouses owned the home prior to the marriage. In such a case, any increase in equity from the date of the marriage until the divorce date needs to be accurately estimated. Both the value of the property at the beginning of the marriage and as of the separation date is needed to determine the increase (or decrease) in equity over that time frame.
In some instances the appraiser may be called upon as an expert witness should the division of assets either decided by the courts. Our 30 years of experience and knowledge of the local markets in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County means that you can trust us to handle your divorce appraisal with the utmost professionalism, courtesy, and confidentiality. Unless required by the courts, we will not share your appraisal with opposing attorneys, spouses, or any other party without your permission. Please call me directly at (805) 881-3805 if you should have any questions regarding a divorce appraisal or any other questions related to residential appraisals.
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