An agent is considering charging divorcing couples because so many ask for valuations merely to calculate how they will split the asset - without actually putting the home on the market with the agency involved.
Andrew Simmonds of Parker’s estate agency in Backwell, Somerset, has given the local media a detailed analysis of why valuations requested by divorcing couples could be subject to an additional charge.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of couples contacting us for home valuations for divorce purposes” Simmonds tells the North Somerset Times.
“As a business we are obviously delighted to meet prospective customers but divorcing couples can present a challenge that can leave us between a rock and a hard place. Valuing a home for a divorce is never easy and can often be a fraught process. Each party always has a different view on valuation” he continues.
“Often you get a call from one or the other before the visit to ask if you would ‘do them a favour’ and value the property ‘up’ or ‘down’. It obviously doesn’t work like that. And more times than not, you actually only meet one of the parties.”
Simmonds says his suggestion for a ‘divorce charge’ came about after he found himself mediating between a couple who were present at a valuation but disagreed vehemently about the figure.
“I had to remind them that I had spent time researching and visiting the property and would be putting that information into a formal valuation letter to them, all without any certainty of an instruction at the end of it. I still provided the valuation but wondered whether it’s time to start charging for divorce valuations and to deduct from our final fee if we were successful in being appointed to market the property” he suggests.
He says divorcing couples should consider a more formal process such as a RICS Red Book valuation - which requires a fee - and then “only contact your local estate agent if the plan is to sell the home and split the proceeds. The price the home is marketed at can then reflect whether a quick sale is needed or whether the parties are prepared to wait a little longer to maximise the price.”
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