Its late, I’m tired, and I’m thinking, what type of appraisal work do I enjoy most?
A neutral appraisal in a divorce case. Really?
In divorce matters, appraisers have the opportunity to build a business that is less dependent on interest rates.
Thats my mantra – focus on business opportunities that will keep the volatility down and most importantly, find a client base that appreciates your expertise.
Mortgage related business is generally very easy to get. However, the margins are low, turn times are fast and the client generally wants a form filled out.
In the New York , the courts refer to an appraiser who is court appointed as a “neutral.” I do a lot of this type of work. I appreciate it because I am paid fairly for my services, I get paid in advance, I usually have several weeks to complete the assignment, and I generally find that attorneys are easy and professional to deal with.
What is a neutral appraiser? Here are some thoughts and guidelines.
- An appraiser who is hired by both parties, usually ordered by the court, to appraise a property.
- Neutral means that no bias in any way can be shown to either party, whether actual or perceived. All communication should be with both attorneys only and on a conference call or by email with every cc’d.
- Neutral means the property should be inspected with either both parties in attendance or neither party in attendance.
- Do not accept phone calls from a specific party.
- The fee should be paid in advance so no leverage can be placed over you.
- The reports should be delivered to both parties simultaneously.
- The results should only be discussed with both parties at the same time.
- Remember the goal is to be fair and go right down the middle in every aspect of the case you are involved in.
- Don’t be afraid to testify, although its rare in neutral matters. I love to. You don’t want the attorneys to be stuck with an expert that won’t go to court. If you have reservations about it, give it a chance. Its not that bad.
How do you develop this business?
Over the years, I have always recommended it to the lawyers or individuals that call me to represent them. Its a compelling argument because it saves each party from hiring their own appraiser. I’d estimate that 90% of the time I make the suggestions, I am proposed as an expert to the other side.