Partnership Splits and REALTOR Selection
You start with one premise in respect to the real estate aspect of a division: emotions must be in check as it is all about the money, your money. The more people fight over the real estate, the more their legal and other professional bills increase, and their walkaway money decreases.
The money spent belongs in your pocket. For partners ending their relationship each party must decide to get the maximum possible from their real estate.
Here is a simple thought: will the property eventually be sold? If the answer is yes, then the longer that you are involved in the process and holding on, the longer you have ties to your partner and the longer that you have the associated emotional issues.
You have to start by agreeing on who you choose as your real estate professional, as not all Realtors are equal. A professional Realtor who is knowledgeable about divorce understands the law, the emotions and the needs of the parties. It is most important that this Realtor must at all times be neutral and never take sides.
Your lawyers may want each side to have independent appraisals. That is always good advice. The two appraisers should be within a reasonable tolerance and the old standard has been that they should be within 5% of each other. If there is a wider disparity, a third appraiser acting for both parties may have to be retained. Residential appraisals range from $500 to $1,000 depending on the house and the appraiser. Custom and more exclusive properties will have higher fees. Commercial fees are into the thousands of dollars.
When selecting an appraiser find out if that appraiser has experience in defending their work in court. Many appraisers will refuse to attend a trial as an expert. Do not hire an appraiser who is not willing to testify if needed.
Besides the two appraisals the Realtor you select should undertake their own market analysis.
A professional Realtor must be an excellent communicator and know how to serve all principals; no secret conversations ever. Every action by the Realtor must be transparent and communication is a must. A professional offers help, advice, service but a true professional does not get involved in the emotional aspects of a division situation.
A professional Realtor understands the working of the process in the courts, the need to meet deadlines and that if there are tenants involved, how to deal with them during showings and up to closing.
For those who have friends or relatives who are Realtors you may feel obligated to use them but making your choice based on a sense of loyalty can prove to be a mistake. All facts will be laid bare and do you want your friend or relative to know the details of your financial affairs or personal information? As well, your friend, the Realtor can be biased and take a side, which is very wrong.
In the end, a professional who is unbiased, has the expertise and is well versed in the process is your best bet.
Barry Lebow has been working with partnership splits and real estate for decades. A good percentage of leading Toronto litigation lawyers know of the professional reputation of Barry and his years as their appraiser of choice. Barry has acted as a Realtor for partners who have selected him and by court order when judges have ruled on Barry being the Realtor of choice.
Being a trained mediator and arbitrator has been of a great benefit to Barry’s clients as he brings the skills necessary for a very intense phase of life.