Selling the marital home is one of the most emotionally-charged tasks a couple must face during a divorce, particularly a contentious one. As trying as it is, there is a point during the home sale process when a divorcing couple can let go of the reins a bit and ease tensions, and that is during the home divorce appraisal.
From the moment, your home divorce appraiser accepts you as a client, he or she focuses on creating the most accurate and comprehensive home divorce appraisal possible. After doing preliminary research on your home, your home divorce appraiser will schedule a visit to your house. During that visit, it is critical that you allow your home divorce appraiser to do the job he or she is being paid to do. That means putting forth your best effort to not engage in behaviors or activities that will either prevent or interfere with your home divorce appraiser seeing what he or she must see.
As a home divorce appraiser, here are the six behaviors I recommend watching out for during your home divorce appraisal.
Arguing. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are sharing an appraisal, also called a joint appraisal, and both of you are present, do your best to be civil to each other for at least one hour so your home divorce appraiser can pay attention to the house and not the two of you. Your home divorce appraiser does not need to hear who wronged who, who slept with the neighbor, who pays the bills, who never pays attention to the kids, or dodge objects flying above his or her head. Keep in mind your home divorce appraiser is not there to appraise you. Your home divorce appraiser simply needs to see the house and take notes, photos, and measurements. Quiet is best.
Failing to control distractions. I love kids and dogs just as much as the next guy but during the home divorce appraisal process they should be kept busy elsewhere. Our equipment and process can be fascinating to children and pets alike. But, again, your home divorce appraiser needs to pay close attention to what he or she is seeing. Your home divorce appraiser also shouldn’t have to worry about Cujo biting or scratching him while working.
Lying. Here is my favorite: Don’t create a fake list of things wrong with the house that cannot be verified by the appraiser. If the walls are full of water, there are unicorns in the crawl space, or the house spins on its axis when it’s windy, get a professional home inspector to document it firsthand. Sending your home divorce appraiser on a wild goose chase only prolongs the inevitable, which will cost you more money in the long run. Let your home divorce appraiser do his or her job, and everyone wins.
Misleading. Don’t deliberately try and mislead your home divorce appraiser by providing a massively-biased CMA report of value from a realtor. Your home divorce appraiser knows how subjective a realtor’s assessment is and, accordingly, how much it can vary from realtor to realtor. In the same vein, be careful about putting all your value eggs in the Zillow basket. Zillow estimates don’t account for nearly as many factors as a home divorce appraisal does. Appraisals are the gold-standard for providing home valuations. Appraisers are highly-trained, accountable, and worry more than you could ever know about doing a credible job on your appraisal. Zillow fills a space where there used to be nothing except poorly accessed county data. Consequently, it can be useful as a preliminary tool for assessing your property. However, it is important to remember that The Zestimate is not an appraisal and should not substitute for one.
Being messy. Hoarders beware! It’s challenging to view a house if every room is crammed to the ceiling with collectibles and only a narrow path to squeeze through. You may love every one of your 200 Precious Moments figurines, but to your home divorce appraiser, they are just cluttering the space if keeping him or her from examining your baseboard heating. Especially if you’re going to be moving from your home shortly, begin packing such objects away. Or get a dumpster before your appraisal if need be. Your home divorce appraiser must be allowed to examine your home thoroughly and not have to worry about navigating an obstacle course while doing so.
Worrying. Don’t worry! I see a lot of anxious people during home divorce appraisal inspections, and I am here to tell you that anxiety is just not necessary. By worrying you are only punishing yourself. Home divorce appraisal examinations are very anticlimactic, even tedious. If you have any paperwork you want to show your home divorce appraiser, ask. Your home divorce appraiser will let you know whether it’s relevant to his or her analysis. Bottom line, home divorce appraisers are here to make your life easier. The trick is for you to let them.
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