Article | Creating Resilience

What you should know when valuing property assets during a divorce or separation

There’s plenty at stake during a divorce or separation. Finding the right residential property valuation is one of the first steps in the solution.

September 16, 2022


A divorce or separation can be an immensely stressful time for anyone involved. This is especially the case when a family home or property is part of the equation. For most people, a residence is their most valuable asset so its precise valuation is paramount in ensuring a fair distribution during a dispute. Undoubtedly, there's a lot at stake, so choosing the most qualified specialists to value your property is equally critical.  

Disputing valuations 

As Australia’s leading valuation provider, CBRE and its in-house Residential Valuation & Advisory Services team has built a reputation for uncovering the true value of every type of residential property. In the family law space specifically, CBRE holds proven experience and local market knowledge of property valuation.  

We understand it’s not the easiest process to navigate, so we’ll look after the finer details for clients to ensure a seamless and independent valuation journey during the most sensitive of times.  

The following property valuation guide will explain what property valuation is, who needs it, why it’s necessary and how to choose the right property valuation expert.  

What is a property valuation?

A property valuation or residential valuation is exactly as it sounds. Qualified valuers are engaged to help value a residential property using their expert local knowledge and insights. The property can constitute a house, apartment, townhouse, or villa owned by a party.  

Why is a property valuation required for family law purposes?

Independent property valuations are commonly called upon when two parties are going through a family law or personal dispute. Issues can arise when disputing parties hold property assets that form a large part of their portfolio and there is a need to understand the values of these assets.   

Given that most people’s biggest assets are their properties, professional valuers are required to undertake this complex task. Disputes that require property valuations can fall under such cases as:  

  • Divorce
  • Mediation
  • Difference of opinion 

How property valuation works in a dispute case 

For property valuations in family law, all communication with valuers needs to be shared with all the parties involved as per single expert witness rules.  

In a divorce or family law dispute, there are usually two parties involved meaning each party will usually have a separate law firm acting for them. Some parties can act for themselves if they decide not to engage in a lawyer. Communication happens simultaneously between the property valuers and the two law firms representing the distressed parties.  

Property valuers will rarely communicate directly with a client unless the client is acting for themselves.  Valuers must be: 

  • Impartial
  • Independent
  • Objective
  • Professional 

What clients need to provide property valuers?

Property valuers often require from clients:  

  • A signed letter of engagement outlining terms and conditions
  • A letter of instruction
  • Legal details of the property so that property valuers can confirm that they are valuing the correct property or asset. Details can include the Certificate of Title, Plan of Subdivision or Deposited Plan   

Property valuers will then be required to enquire into: 

  • Whether there is a lease on the property
  • If it is a managed or serviced apartment 
  • What level of adjustments, extensions, or modifications to the property have been made
  • Whether there are any development approvals 

Which party pays for the property valuation?  

Usually it is 50% each party and this must be paid prior to release of the report. If the lawyers aren’t involved, an individual can instruct the valuer independently. 

How to choose a reliable property valuation service  

Finding the right property valuer to deliver an efficient and effective solution to your dispute can be confusing. When family lawyers seek a property valuer for their client, they are looking for specific traits and skillsets which clients should also be aware of. Top performing property valuers need to: 

  • Know the intricacies of the product and the market the product will appeal to
  • Have the ability to write the story clearly and concisely in a report for a third party (i.e., a barrister or judge) 
  • Be able to convince a judge or mediator of your findings
  • Be able to stand up in court and clearly articulate their argument for the valuation if required 

Setting the standard in property valuation  

CBRE was founded in 1906, which means we’ve successfully delivered results in the real estate space for over a century. Over a hundred years of collective experience and knowledge also goes into solving your most challenging disputes in family law.  

What sets our residential valuation services apart: 

  • All our valuers possess extensive expertise on a specific product alongside real-time property market insights 
  • We have highly specialised and localised skillsets 
  • Our valuers don’t overextend their roles across different property classes. CBRE Residential property valuers only operate in their specific property class to ensure the highest quality of service is maintained 
  • Diligent and experienced in providing the right advice which is essential for when disputes escalate to court
  • Complete client confidentiality in every single property valuation 
  • Our extensive valuation practice allows us in most cases to have valued the latest sales evidence that we then use to determine the property value at the next valuation
  • We have 280 residential valuers in Australia which allows us to physically visit every property we value to deliver the most accurate report for clients 
  • CBRE’s global network allows us to organise property valuers in Asia for disputes happening in Australia. This makes valuing offshore assets for local families a seamless process that is managed entirely in-house with full confidentiality  

How to get started in valuing your property

Your successful property valuation begins right here. Get in touch with CBRE’s Residential Valuation specialists to realise the true potential of your property. 

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