Regardless of the circumstances, going through a divorce can be a painful and complicated process. In addition to the emotional trauma, there are attorneys, monetary concerns, compex laws, and mountains of paperwork to deal with. If real estate (either primary, secondary, or investment) is involved, your headaches get much bigger. Where do you start? Who do you hire? How do you know you are being treated fairly? Here are a few points to consider when getting a divorce appraisal in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Blackfoot, or any of the surrounding Eastern Idaho areas.
Choose the Right Appraiser
It is not always the attorney who chooses the appraiser. Certainly, you will want to seek the advice of your lawyer, but if he or she does not know who would be best, do your homework. Appraisers come with various levels of expertise and abilities. You should know how experienced, educated, and trained your appraiser is. Most importantly, choose someone who has been appraising in your area for a long period of time. Knowing the market is the biggest criteria when choosing an appraiser.
You will want to find an appraiser who has had expert witness experience. In other words, find someone who knows how to handle him or herself on the witness stand. The best appraiser in the world can ruin a case if he or she cannot present well in front of a judge or jury.
Finally, many divorces never go to trial. Find an appraiser who is willing to do the appraisal report for one fee and a separate billing for retainer and/or testimony. Your overall costs will be much lower using this payment model.
Be Involved in the Appraisal Process
You do not have to be at the home or property when the appraiser inspects, but it is advised. You know the real estate best and being there can assist the appraiser in getting the most accurate information he or she will be relying on for value. Also, if you know of comparable homes which have recently sold in your neighborhood, you may wish to bring them to the attention of the appraiser.
Check the Appraisal for Accuracy
You and your attorney should look over the appraisal report for accuracy. Appraisers are only human and do make mistakes. If you have a sprinkler system, but you do not see it listed on the report, communicate that. Do not wait for a deposition or trial for these things to come up. You do not want the other side challenging the integrity of the appraiser for small things. This can hurt the overall credibility of the case.
Communicate with the Appraiser Openly and Often
Appraisers are not used to talking to home owners once they have left the inspection. This is because a large majority of appraisals are completed for lending purposes and there are convoluted laws regarding communication with the borrower. This is not the case in a divorce situation, however. An appraiser should remain an unbiased, disinterested, third-party—of course—but they can be a sounding board and a source of information regarding the market, your home, and your property’s value.
For over 20 years, Dustin Harris has been an appraiser in the Eastern Idaho market. His experience with attorneys and litigation work is extensive. He will remain neutral and respectful of both sides and is a professional in every aspect of this difficult process.
If you have any questions or items we can help you with, do not hesitate to call our office. The precarious road through the divorce process should not be traveled alone.