Establishing property value


Dear David,

I’ve lived in the same house for over 50 years. I have a new significant other who wants to buy into the property. We want to ensure that if something happens to one of us, our respective estates are treated properly. I called a Realtor to do a market analysis for us and they declined, how should we proceed? – KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY

DEAR KEEPING: Embarking on a fresh chapter with a new significant other is an exciting change. If you’ve asked a Realtor to do a market analysis for you, you may already have received some advice, which may need to be fine-tuned.

I’m not sure if you’ve spoken to a lawyer. If you haven’t, call your lawyer and they can explain how to register your partner on title. Since you both want to protect your respective estates, you’re going to have to think of this as a business transaction, even with love on the horizon. I assume you’re hoping that if one of you happens to graduate from planet earth before you sell this home, each of your families/estates will retain their proportional share of the value.

When a couple gets married, the matrimonial home is typically registered under joint tenancy. This arrangement ensures that if one spouse passes away, the entire property automatically transfers to the surviving spouse, and from there funnels down through family and beneficiaries as was originally intended.

In second and third marriages, things may be set up differently as both spouses often come to the relationship with their own equity. In case of their passing, they typically want their equity passed down to their own immediate family members, rather than to someone else’s children. Your lawyer will be able to register title in a way that fulfills these intentions.

As I often say, surround yourself with professionals. Property values are subjective, and with nearly two thousand Realtors practicing in our region, a dozen agents will likely give you several different property assessments depending on their experience, marketing strategies and competencies. I’m going to give you the advice I give to divorcing couples when one wants to buy the other out: get an official property appraisal from an accredited appraiser. Better yet, get two separate appraisals and average them together to help ensure accuracy.

An official appraisal is an in-depth analysis and comparative look at the overall value of your home. An appraiser’s approach is thorough and methodical. If you need to establish property value to settle an estate, an appraisal report will hold more credibility than a free opinion given by a Realtor.

PRO TIP: It boggles my mind how often I hear executors relying on free opinions when there is so much at stake. You’re trying to establish value (not market your home) so get an appraiser’s opinion. I often get pushback when giving this advice, but with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, the free solution is not always best. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.