Most people realize the importance of an expert witness report in criminal cases and other legal disputes. However, expert witnesses are equally as important in litigation over real estate in Arkansas.
A real estate expert witness report can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. It can also make a significant impact on the amount of your property’s valuation, which will impact the outcome of proceedings for all parties.
Cases That May Require A Real Estate Expert Witness
A real estate expert witness can give factual testimony, serve as a guard against bias, or act as a professional consultant for a lawyer during a real estate dispute. There are several types of real estate cases that may require an expert witness report, including:
Residential Ownership Disputes:You have more than a monetary stake in your home, and this can make you biased to its true value. Residential disputes can range from divorce or dissolution of a domestic partnership to property tax or foreclosure proceedings.
An expert witness can help guard against bias on either side by providing an impartial assessment. During divorce proceedings, it is especially common to use a real estate expert witness to testify to the true value of your home so that assets can be allocated fairly.
Investment Property Litigation: Investment properties may come under legal dispute due to the severing of business partnerships, overdue property tax, foreclosure or condemnation. Investment properties often have renters involved, which can tangle matters even further. In the case of a foreclosure or condemnation, an expert real estate witness may give testimony about the condition of the buildings and whether or not they are safe for inhabitation.
Inheritance and Estate Disputes: After the death of a loved one, it is important to get legal counsel as soon as possible to protect the assets your parents or other family members left to your discretion.
In cases of property, depending on the valuation of the estate, there may be a tax on the inheritance, the amount of which depends on the valuation. An expert witness report will provide insight into the assessment of the property in question and report the expert witness’s findings to the court in the case of a discrepancy or dispute.
For instance, you could be paying taxes on a home that has been valued by the state for far more than it’s currently worth. In this case, an expert witness report may help sway the court to award you with retroactive reimbursement for overpayment.
Real Estate Development Disputes: When a lender and a developer have a dispute over a property, such as an interest rate based on a property assessment, an expert witness report can lend the court clarity. An expert witness can bring their professional opinion to the table as to whether or not the property is worth the amount being paid, the overall condition of the property, and matters of property lines, valuable amenities, and neighborhood property value.
How An Expert Witness Report Can Improve Your Case
An expert witness is an impartial authority and is recognized by the court as an expert in their field. For example, an expert witness could help settle a dispute wherein the opposing party is valuing your disputed property far under the current market value—which is often true in cases of IRS liens or eminent domain issues and can be true in any real estate litigation proceeding.
Other cases where an expert might be called on, outside of assessing the value of the property, might be in cases of damage, such as damage caused by natural disasters, acts of God, or vandalism. In these cases, the expert witness report would assess the total cost of damages that should be paid to the homeowners based on its property value.
Each real estate case is unique, so it’s important to enlist the help of an experienced valuation firm equipped to competently handle the specific parameters of your case. Enlist the help of a professional assessment firm who has extensive local experience—property values and real estate laws vary depending on state, city, and even by county.
If you need a real estate expert witness with both appraisal and legal expertise in Arkansas, contact Ferstl Valuation Services at 501.313.0641 to schedule a free consultation.