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Divorce and the importance of accurate property valuations

When people get divorced, more often than not the main asset is the family home. It is therefore essential to get an accurate valuation of the property, particularly if the property is not going to be sold and one party is going to buy out the other party’s interest.

Often people rely on estate agents’ valuations, which is purely their estimate of price. What we advise clients to be wary of is that there is no requirement in law for this estimate to be accurate.

Only chartered surveyors are qualified to give an unbiased, objective and accurate valuation of a home’s true worth. Mortgage and insurance companies will only accept valuations from a chartered surveyor. 

Estate agents will not have insurance and if their valuation is incorrect the client will have little recourse, whilst chartered surveyors are insured for their negligence.

I would always advise a client to consider instructing a chartered surveyor to carry out a valuation (this can be done jointly with the other party) to provide an accurate valuation of the family home if the property is not going to be marketed for sale. Many people have buy-to-let property portfolios and again, a valuation report from a chartered surveyor is always recommended.

The result of an inaccurate valuation of a property hugely outweighs the cost of valuation reports from a chartered surveyor, which can be in the region of £300-400 plus VAT for a three- or four-bedroom property.

If you have experienced a relationship breakdown or divorce and need support with financial arrangements, contact Sam Kent or one of our family law team on 0121 289 3599.

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