Why Use an Appraiser as an Expert Witness

  • 10/30/17

Expert witness testimony has grown to become a big part of the legal system, earning $130 million each year. They have an important part to play in court, using their expert knowledge to shed some light on complex topics. They provide the facts to assist the court to make the right decision.

When your case involves real estate, expertise is often essential. If you’re arguing about the value of a property, an appraiser’s testimony is invaluable. So why do you need one? Read on to find out.

An Appraiser Provides Evidence

The value of your property is probably a big part of your case. The best way to know the value of any property is by hiring an appraiser.

No matter the type of appraisal needed, getting one is the best way to get an honest, accurate evaluation.

When you know how much your property is worth, your lawyer can build their case around solid evidence.

Experts Make Your Case More Credible

An expert in any job will have a much easier time explaining their work than someone who has never done the job. The appraiser who evaluated your property will likely be able to explain their results and answer questions better than a lawyer.

An expert witness who is confident and able to respond well to questions is generally seen in court as credible. If the court believes your witness, they’re more likely to support your side of the case.

Your Opponent Will Likely Hire an Expert Witness

Because an appraiser is such an important witness in real estate litigation, your opponent will probably hire one. If they have hired one and you haven’t, the court will only have their expertise to rely on.

Depending on the appraiser they have hired and their methods, their appraisal might not be so favorable for you.

When you bring your own appraiser as a witness, you make sure that your side of the case doesn’t get overpowered by your opponent’s witness choices.

Finding an Appraiser to Act as a Witness

So how do you find the right witness to speak on your behalf?

First, you need to find an appraiser with a good track record. Your opponent’s lawyer will often try to make your witness seem less credible. If your appraiser has a strong career history, they’ll have a harder time criticizing them.

It’s best to look for one in your local community. They can get to the property more easily and won’t have to travel far for the court date.

Once you find one, you should meet with the appraiser before deciding whether to hire them. It’s important that you get a sense of their personality. Ask them if they’re comfortable speaking in court and whether they have experience doing so.

The confidence and personality of a witness can affect their credibility. If they get nervous on the stand and can’t speak confidently, it may affect your case. Make sure you have confidence in them as well.

Furthermore, in New York state, brokers can prepare an appraisal based on the law. The problem is those ‘appraisals’ are not given much value in court or can be used in a federal transaction (for a bank – purchase or refinance). So how good is that? Your appraiser should be licensed to perform appraisals and/or certified.

Wrapping Up

Having an appraiser give testimony as an expert witness can be a real advantage in real estate litigation. Besides providing evidence and making your case more credible, it makes sure you’re not at a disadvantage if your opponent hires one.

Interested in meeting with us to see if we’re the right fit? Contact us to set up an appointment today.

Wonica Realtors & Appraisers are Staten Island’s #1 independent full-service real estate firm, serving the needs of the community for over 30 years. Whether you’re buying, selling, renting or relocating, our staff of highly trained professionals will provide quality realty services with personal attention to your individual real estate needs.

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