How Much Is My Home Worth For Bankruptcy Purposes?
When you make the decision to file for personal bankruptcy, you have a responsibility to list all of your debts as well as all of your assets. For most people, their home is their most valuable asset. Because this asset is worth the most for a debtor, it is critical that they correctly value the amount the house is worth for bankruptcy purposes.
The first issue regarding valuing a home for bankruptcy purposes rests on how much equity lies in the house. Equity is the fair market value minus any amount that is still owed, such as closing costs, mortgages, or liens. Essentially, equity is how much a homeowner would receive if they were to sell the house on the market today. Even more important is the answer to the question: How much would a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee receive if they were to sell the house on the market today? In order to make a determination regarding equity, there must be determinations regarding how the home is valued, if anyone else has an ownership interest in the home, and if there are any other financial considerations regarding the property, such as deferred maintenance.
Receiving an Appraisal
In most cases, a house is valued is through an independent appraisal process. Appraisals are not free and typically cost anywhere from 300 to $500. Regardless of the cost, it is important to receive an independent appraisal to show the bankruptcy court exactly how much your home is worth on the market today.
Comparative Market Analysis
If for some reason you do not want to go through the independent appraisal process, you also have the option to obtain a comparative market analysis from an independent real estate agent. A comparative market analysis is similar to an independent appraisal, and acts as a form of mini-appraisal that will give a reasonable estimate of what the fair market value of the home would likely be in the market today. Some real estate agents charge a small fee for this comparative market analysis. This option would be better for a homeowner in an area where real estate prices have remained relatively stable or decreased recently.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you have made the decision that you want to keep your home even after the bankruptcy process, you should file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will not lose your home, however, your mortgage payments will be included in the restructuring of debt that occurs in this bankruptcy process.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you are considering filing for any type of bankruptcy, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made that will directly impact your ability to have a successful bankruptcy that benefits you financially. Visiting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine important Financial considerations such as how to value your home for bankruptcy purposes. Contact an experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 to help you understand how best to value your home for bankruptcy purposes.