Can You Trust the Real Estate Appraiser Conducting Your Home Divorce Appraisal?

Can You Trust the Real Estate Appraiser Conducting Your Home Divorce Appraisal?

When we talk about trust and relationships, often what comes to mind are romantic relationships or personal friendships. How do we trust a new partner? Or, can we trust a friend enough to confide in them? Like any personal relationship, there must also exist trust in your professional relationships, particularly the one you have with the real estate appraiser conducting your divorce appraisal.

For most divorcing couples, the marital home represents the largest joint asset a couple owns. Most divorce lawyers will, therefore, request a professional divorce appraisal of the home, even if the couple is not selling the home. The question is, how can you trust the person you are hiring? After all, it is likely you never met the divorce appraiser before. More than that, you may have never had a real estate appraisal in the past, making you that much more wary about the process.

One of the best ways to relieve initial awkwardness between you and your real estate divorce appraiser is to become familiar with the process beforehand. A real estate divorce appraiser, especially one who works intimately with divorcing couples and understands how much stress there can be during this difficult time, will take the time to apprise a couple of what will happen when he arrives at the divorce appraisal appointment.

Those going through or who have ever gone through a divorce know that stress is most often rooted in feelings that they are no longer in control of their life. One of the most effective strategies for overcoming this sensation is to prepare what you can before your divorce appraisal. That means educating yourself about sales data in your area, much of which is freely available on sites like Zillow and If you are not Internet savvy, you may want to consider reaching out to a local realtor for a list of recent sales in your area.

It is important to remember, however, your preliminary research will not be as comprehensive as that of the real estate divorce appraiser, who is trained in doing such analyses and has more access to the detailed information necessary for giving you the most accurate divorce appraisal possible. Coupled with his knowledge, training, and experience, a reputable real estate divorce appraiser also utilizes computer models that take into consideration nuances not readily available to the general public. Nonetheless, it is still in your best interest to educate yourself from the outset, so you are better able to understand your appraisal and how the appraiser calculated your home’s value when you receive it.

On his end, a reputable real estate appraiser will ease any feelings of insecurity homeowners may have by showing up for the scheduled appointment on time. He will also dress professionally. He will arrive at the home with an open mind, gathering information from around the home and any the homeowners offer to him. Most importantly, he will communicate openly and honestly with the homeowners about why he is there, how he can help them, and what they can do to help him.

One of the best ways homeowners can ensure the accuracy of their home divorce appraisal is by compiling a list of improvements they made to the home, including the dates of the improvements, what those improvements entailed, and how much they cost. It is equally as important for the homeowner to let the appraiser know if the home has any defects that he may not readily see. A home appraisal is no time to keep secrets because once any defect becomes apparent, the home divorce appraisal will lose its accuracy, which will inevitably cost the homeowners more time and money in the long run.

Think of having a home divorce appraisal much as you would flying on an airplane for the first time. Even though you are not the one sitting in the cockpit, you still place your trust in the pilot to get you where you need to be. Rest assured, an experienced and skilled real estate divorce appraiser will do the same.

Are You Nervous About Your Home Divorce Appraisal?

Are You Nervous About Your Home Divorce Appraisal?

If you are nervous about your upcoming home divorce appraisal, you are not alone. After all, you have a lot at stake, especially if you are like most divorcing couples whose home is the largest asset they own together. There is, however, a surefire way to ease your mind, and that is to get involved in the divorce home appraisal process. Even though a home divorce appraisal might be a new experience for you and your spouse, your efforts can go a long way toward not only making you feel less nervous but also ensuring that you get the most accurate report possible.

A home divorce appraisal has three distinct parts. The first part entails identifying and describing the property. That may sound easy but, for a divorce home appraiser who has never visited your house before, he or she will have their work cut out for them. That is where the homeowner comes in and can offer some much-needed guidance to the home divorce appraiser. After all, you know your home best. By putting together in advance a general description of your house, you can ensure that the research conducted by your home divorce appraiser will represent the most accurate and up to date information in existence. Your description should include the following:

  • The location of the house
  • The year the house was built
  • The style of the home
  • How many square feet it has (if you know)
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms there are
  • What the general condition of the house is
  • Any unusual features the house has

The next step is for an interested homeowner to do some preliminary research on the pricing of similar homes in the area. Again, your home divorce appraiser may be unfamiliar with your neighborhood, especially if you do not live in a subdivision where many of the surrounding houses look alike. The best way to find comps in your area is to enlist the help of three different local realtors. Chances are there will be some overlap between their results, which will give you the reassurance you want that the information in your home divorce appraisal is correct. Having these comps on hand for your home divorce appraiser will also give him or her some idea as to where you expect your home to fall on the valuation scale. Not to mention, your expectations will be more realistic when you ultimately receive your divorce home appraisal.

The third and final step of the home divorce appraisal process lies almost entirely with your home divorce appraiser. Though you are free to share your analysis with the home divorce appraiser who is appraising your home, it is at this stage he or she will combine all of the information you provided up to this point with his or her own. He or she will then conduct a dollar for dollar analysis, making any adjustments for differences that exist between your house and the comps in your neighborhood. Indeed, this is the most difficult part of the home divorce appraisal process and where your home divorce appraiser’s years of expertise and experience kicks in, so any information you offered earlier can only strengthen the credibility of the home divorce appraiser’s report.

By integrally involving yourself in your home divorce appraisal, you will invariably feel less helpless or nervous during the process (if you are feeling that way at all). You will also keep your divorce home appraiser accountable and on task even more so than he or she already is, inspiring him or her to generate the most accurate valuation possible. A professional home divorce appraiser should not resent your involvement in the process. In fact, if reputable, he or she will thank you for it. Remember, a home divorce appraisal can only help during a divorce, so help your home divorce appraiser help you.

Real Estate Appraisal for Your Bankruptcy

Real Estate Appraisal for Your Bankruptcy

Having to file for bankruptcy is a sobering experience. It can be fraught with confusion and embarrassment and an unsettling feeling of “now what?” You may not have seen this coming as you worked hard and planned for your stable future.

No doubt a number of factors got you into this difficult position but you have responsibly decided that a bankruptcy is the best way for you to move forward for yourself and your loved ones. The thought of losing your home may be causing you sleepless nights, and the details of it all may have you feeling as if you’re in a maze. We are here to offer you qualified and professional help and will do our best to make this understandable and manageable for you.

Every state has a homestead exemption that protects equity in your home. In Oregon, that amount is $40,000, and for a married couple, it is $50,000. While some states allow you to double the homestead exemption, Oregon does not, and caps it at the $50,000. This covers real property (including condominiums), or floating, manufactured or mobile homes. Depending on where you live, there are other considerations. If you are located outside of town or city limits, you may protect up to 160 acres. If your homestead is located within town or city limits, you may protect up to 1 city block.

To take advantage of this exemption, the property must be occupied by the owner, owner’s spouse, parent, or child. However, if you are not living in your home but you intend to sell it or your absence is temporary and you plan to move back in, you can still use the exemption. As you would expect, there are other aspects to this law that your attorney will go over with you.

You may want to sell your home, either by choice or by necessity. Factors to consider will be possible liens or judgments to satisfy your creditor(s). I will do a full and professional appraisal of your property that you and your attorneys will be able to safely use into your decision making. We will work with you and your attorney directly, to shorten the process for you.

We are confident that we will be more cost-effective than any other professional appraisers you may speak with.

Call Nathan anytime at 503.349.3765 to get started and to get all of your questions answered. We look forward to talking with you and putting your mind at ease. Constant worrying isn’t good for anyone. We want to help you get through to the next stage of your life. Call.

Real Estate Appraisal for your Divorce

Real Estate Appraisal for your Divorce

A divorce is never – or very rarely – a happy thing. The emotions that went into deciding to take this life-changing step can be overwhelming. And it can often seem that once you have made that momentous decision the procedures and details that follow are crushing. You will need help, and we can offer some.

If you own your own home, what to do with it will undoubtedly be at the top of your list. Are you keeping it or is your spouse? Are you selling it? Is one of you going to buy the other out? When you walk around it and think about when you bought it and decorated it and made the improvements and put up the holiday decorations and entertained and maybe raised your children and played with your pets do you think the memories are going to sink you? This is where I can help. I’m not a marriage counselor or a therapist but I do know Portland area real estate and I’m going to do my best to show and explain to you that a house is real property and has a real market value, and we’re going to sit down and treat the house just that way. We are only going to look at this asset in terms of its monetary value, and that will allow you to see it dispassionately.

I will do a full and professional appraisal that you and your spouse, or you and your attorneys will be able to factor into your decision making. If you can look at the details in black and white it might help to take the raw emotions out of this part of your negotiations. It will also give you the appraisal that you need should you decide to put the house on the market. You and your real estate agent will knowledgeably list the house at a price that it deserves.

I will do a full and professional appraisal that you and your spouse, or you and your attorneys will be able to factor into your decision making. If you can look at the details in black and white it might help to take the raw emotions out of this part of your negotiations. It will also give you the appraisal that you need should you decide to put the house on the market. You and your real estate agent will knowledgeably list the house at a price that it deserves.

I don’t take sides, and my one goal is to get you where you want to be. Call Nathan anytime at 503.349.3765 to get started and to get all of your questions answered. We look forward to talking with you and putting your mind at rest. We want to help you get through to the next stage of your life.

ADU – Accessory Dwelling Units – Appraisal in Portland

ADU – Accessory Dwelling Units – Appraisal in Portland

Nathan Bernhardt of Bernhardt Appraisal has put some time and energy into discovering a great deal about Accessory Dwelling Appraisal and Accessory Dwelling Financing.

We are pro-ADU, as they provide significantly more value than they cost. ADUs are financially smart, efficient, and have a great future in the Portland Metropolitan Area. Contact Nathan to help you with anything related to ADU Appraisal or ADU Financing or any question you may have about Accessory Dwelling Units. 503-349-3765

Nathan has put together some of the most relevant articles and information here.

ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units) Survey Report Published

A survey of ADU owners in Portland, Eugene, and Ashland, Oregon is complete and now published. You can find it at Oregon DEQ’s website and This mail and web survey was administered by Portland State University’s Survey Research Lab and developed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Portland Metro’s regional government (Metro).

Appraisal Journal on ADUs: they could be worth more than you think

An old-skool ADU, dawg: a carriage house in Simsbury Center Historical District, photo by Sphilbrick (Creative Commons)

Today the Appraisal Journal publishes a research paper about residential properties with accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The paper describes an income-based method for appraising properties with ADUs, and concludes that using an income-based approach can give appraisers a valuable counterpoint to results from the frequently used, but often problematic, sales comparison approach. In the case of 14 Portland properties sold from 2006-2011, valuations by income were significantly higher, on average, than actual sales prices, by 7 or 10 percent, depending on the exact formula used. Here’s the press release, which includes (at least for now) a link to the full report. Also find more from this article, ‘Appraising properties with accessory dwelling units: a preview of new methods and findings‘.

Financing for constructing ADU’s has been rough going.

Here’s some reasons why it’s historically been so difficult to get a loan for constructing an ADU:

National banks can’t determine the value of ADUs as a product, and they typically won’t lend against a product whose value they don’t understand.
Banks can’t establish the value of a prospective ADU because it’s difficult to appraise the value of ADU’s.
It’s difficult to appraise the value of ADUs in part because there are so few permitted ADUs in the market place; there are not many comparables for the appraiser to use to establish an opinion of market value for the ADU and the main house together.
There’s so few ADUs in the market place because most cities/counties make it difficult or impossible to build them.
Energy Use Over the Last Year In the ADU

There is actually a good amount of information out there about ADU’s, Accessory Dwellings, though not all in one place. Nathan Bernhardt has become well versed and would like to help you with any questions you might have on this popular and fascinating subject.

Give Nathan a call, he would be more than happy to answer any question you may have.