A property valuation is helpful when trying to achieve a fair property settlement. If parties cannot agree as to the value of any property, then valuations should be obtained. Parties can agree to appoint a joint valuer to determine the value of any property in dispute. It is best to establish an agreeable and accurate asset pool at the onset of family law negotiations.
Difference between an appraisal and a valuation
An appraisal is a helpful first step to consider when preparing to engage in negotiation relating to property settlement. Appraisals are a free service provided by local real estate agents that are informative and assist the initial stages of discussions. However, they are not relied on in Court, unless the value of the property is agreed by both parties.
A valuation is more formal and can be relied upon as expert evidence in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (‘Court’). A valuation report costs up to $600 per property, and there is an expectation that both parties equally share the costs of the valuation reports. If one party cannot afford to pay their share upfront, the other party will pay the full amount initially, and it would be adjusted accordingly at settlement.
How a valuer can be appointed
It can be arranged by a lawyer to provide a list of three valuers to the other party, and they can nominate a single expert to undertake an independent valuation. The lawyer would write a joint letter signed by the parties instructing for a valuation of the property to the chosen valuer. The valuer would produce a legally binding report, and if the matter progresses to Court, it will be accepted as evidence.
Valuations should ideally be completed before issuing proceedings (so that the asset pool can be quantified at the outset). The earlier the value of the assets are determined, the more beneficial it will be so that negotiation is earnest and not delayed.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with our experienced team at Richardson Murray.