What is the difference between a Market Appraisal and a Property Valuation?

For solicitors to advise separating couples as to what their property entitlements are likely to be, it is
essential to know “what’s in the pot”. This means the assets and liabilities of the separating couple
have to be considered so the value of the “property pool” can be determined. Commonly, the most
valuable asset is the family home. Often there is disagreement as to the value of the property. The
party wanting to retain the home will be keen to down value the property, whilst the other will want
to place a higher value on it as this may mean a higher cash or superannuation adjustment. It is
easier when neither party can afford to retain the property on their own and the property is sold,
the property sale price is then taken as the value.

Market Appraisals are usually provided by real estate agents at no charge. They are a real estate
agent’s opinion and are only intended as a guide as to what the property could achieve if the
property is placed on the market for sale. The best indication of the true value of a property is best
done by engaging the services of a qualified real estate valuer. The property valuer will want to
attend at the property for a formal inspection and a detailed written valuation report is then
provided. Property valuers’ fees for valuation reports can be anything from $800 to $3,000. A
property valuer will take many factors into consideration when working out the true value of the
property, including the type of home, the location, the size of the land and buildings, it’s condition
and any planning or zoning restrictions. Unlike real estate agents, they do not take the presentation
of the property or it’s street appeal into account.

If you are going through a separation and need to ascertain an accurate legal value for the family
home, then it is best to engage the services of a property valuer rather than rely on a market
appraisal provided by a real estate agent.