Are Divorce Appraisals the Same as Refinance Appraisals?
The Answer is...No! (x4!)

1. Although you're the one who pays for your refinance appraisal, the form and the report are centered on lender requirements. For example, a refinance appraisal might be made "subject to" repairs necessary to meet lender requirements. This means that the appraised value includes the completed repairs. Divorce appraisals are made "as is", which can have a considerable effect on value.

2. Divorce appraisals can sometimes be a point of contention between parties involved. Occasionally, the appraiser is called to testify in court to defend the research, analysis, and conclusions in the report. For this reason, divorce appraisals are prepared in a manner that anticipates the potential for legal testimony.

3. Typically, a refinance appraisal has an effective date that is the same as the date of the inspection. Divorce appraisals can have an effective date that is specified by the client, which could be retrospective to the date of separation. And the change in effective date can also affect the value conclusion.

4. Divorce appraisals should be presented on a different form than refinance appraisals. Most residential lenders require that appraisers use the 1004 form, which has a preprinted statement specifying that the intended use is for mortgage finance purposes. This may not seem major, but in divorce court, it could discredit the entire report.