Jane and Joe are separating and dividing their assets. Joe wants to hire a specific appraiser to evaluate their home. Joe plans to refinance, buy out Jane, and keep the house. Susan, the attorney defending Joe, is preparing the settlement options for Joe to review.
If neither Jane or Joe wanted to refinance, a CMA Comparative Market Analysis could be used, but there are several reasons this is not advised. Read other areas of concern to learn why.
In our case with Jane and Joe, Susan obtains an appraisal, referred to as a single-party residential divorce appraisal.
Often an attorney is most concerned with the final value of the property and not as concerned with the form that is used. Appraisers new to the single party appraisal process may use the go-to form URAR1004. This form technically is not admissible since its intended use is only for mortgage matters. The appraisal, if contested, may not be defensible.
Susan’s long term appraiser chooses the General Purpose Appraisal Report (GPAR) which is designed for uses such as single and multi- family homes, and condos. It’s written in a narrative form.
Will the Appraisal be Fair?
Single-party appraisals can create a conflict of interest, as the appraiser may be tempted to bias their report in favor of the party who hired them.
Specifically, in the context of a divorce, the value of the marital home is often a major asset that must be divided between the spouses. If the appraisal is not fair or accurate, it can have a significant impact on the financial outcome of the divorce.
It is important to note that there are laws and regulations in place that are designed to protect consumers from biased appraisals.
For example, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) requires appraisers to disclose any potential conflicts of interest and to follow strict ethical guidelines. Additionally, appraisers are subject to regular audits and reviews by state and federal regulators.
Other Areas of Concern
Susan knows that appraisals don’t address the title, tax liens or SBA loans the spouse may not be aware of. Susan has been to Jane and Joe’s house and saw the cracks in the foundation, she also knows that there is a shed in the yard that looks quite close to the property line.
She requests a survey, inspection and a title search along with the appraisal.
Dunn Appraisals Approach
Since our clients are requesting Dunn and Associates handle appraisals in the case of marriage dissolution, we have begun accepting single-party appraisal assignments.
You can be assured that Dunn & Associates adheres strictly to the USPAP. We can also provide another opinion on the quality and accuracy of valuations from others at no charge for our clients. With over 20 years experience and having testified across Colorado, we have seen it all and know how to provide the accuracy attorneys need.
Kerry Dunn, Dunn & Associates LLC
Your real estate experts of value
COLORADO JUDICIAL COURTS EXPERT WITNESS