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Pre-planning Chap. 7 Questions about property appraisals

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  • Pre-planning Chap. 7 Questions about property appraisals

    I am planning on filing at the end of the year so I'm getting my ducks in a row. I'm thinking we may now qualify for Chapter 7 so I want to think through everything involved in that so I'm not blindsided if that's the case. I'm in the Middle Court of Florida Tampa area to give you an idea of where we are. If I am understanding everything right my husband and i would use our homestead exemption if we have equity in our house. This I'm not sure about but if we do it's not too much. In this case we would each get to exempt $1,000 in personal possessions. Does this include our TV, couch, dining room table, mattress, apap sleep machines, plates, cookware, bed, kids beds and stuff like that? We have a very basic house that's 1044 sq ft. I'm having trouble figuring out how to price the furniture my husband built. He built our coffee table, three end tables, and my bed. He's no professional, and they are all 5 or so years old. Since we never "bought" it I don't know how to value it. I bought our dining room table from Walmart about 7 years ago for $125 that is terrible. I don't want to trigger an audit if I put $25 on a dining room table but honestly I wouldn't even take it to Goodwill if I get rid of it. I would put it at the road on trash day. I have young kids so we decided not to get anything nice until they are older. That one has sharpie on the top that won't come off and scratches. It's just in poor shape. Our living room couch was purchased about 6 years ago and is bonded leather that is peeling really bad. I need a new one and I'm not sure what to do about that. My oldest son's bed I got off freecycle so I paid nothing and it couldn't be resold because it's been cut and modified to fit into a spot in the room. It couldn't stand on it's own anymore. The other son's bed was $50 used. I have no idea what to appraise something like that for because it's probably 20 years old and is in decent shape. We have a lot of consumer debt but the majority of it did not go to buying things. I feel like the amount of debt we have versus the amount of things we have is going to trigger an audit of some sort. The debt is non-tangible items like gas, restaurants, living expenses, groceries, medical bills, dental bills, and some of it is so old I have no idea what it was for. We've just been transferring and transferring it so long I don't even remember.

    Another question is about my engagment ring. I have a half carat diamond solitare. It's possible that could be the majority of my exemption if I chose to keep it. That means I would have to give everything in the house up besides my husband's $1,000 worth of stuff? I have read horror stories about Middle Court appraisers putting values on things higher than what the item was new and I really terrified to deal with this.

    I completely forgot my husband has started building me a banquette to replace the dining room table. It will be like a built in unit. How in the world is that apparaised? It can't be removed from the house because it will be attached and built to fit certain walls and spaces.

    Our appliances are all 11 years old and were in the house to begin with. Our washer and dryer are hand me downs from a family member. We have bicycles, no art, no other jewelry of value, some mediocre tools, but no lawn supplies. We do have a newer RV and camping supplies. Honestly you would be shocked at our debt load if you saw how we live. I'm so ready to get this over with. All the debt and none of the fun stuff! if I'm correct if we go Chapter 13 none of this matters?

  • #2
    I want to add that I've met with one attorney but I plan on meeting several more before hiring one. Reading these boards you realize just how important it is to get a good one!

    Comment


    • #3
      You really should find out whether you have equity in your home. If you don't need the homestead exemption, then you can use a $4,000 wildcard.

      I don't know what is and is not likely to make a trustee send an appraiser. You should discuss that with an attorney.

      Your property is worth what somebody will pay for it and what a willing seller would accept. The Salvation Army has valuation guides that you might use to get an idea of what things are worth. If something is in a condition that would prevent you from selling it, than it is worth nothing. A table purchased for $125 7 years ago, isn't going to be worth much. When you list it on your petition, you can say how old it is and what it costs new and that it is scratched and stained with permanent marker. Mattresses are hard to get rid of when you are giving them away. Prescribed health aids are exempt. I assume the APAP machines fit in that category. The ring may cost $1,000 to replace, but could you sell it for that much? Search ebay for completed auctions if 1/2 carat diamond engagement rings. Few are listed for anywhere near $1,000. Most didn't sell. There are two ended auctions where the rings were listed at $450 and $399 and both ended with "best offers" which would have been lower. What would you pay for an 11+ year old appliance?

      I think that built in furniture is probably part of the house. While it is still under construction, it is probably worth what the materials are worth.

      I don't think the trustee is going to use the amount of credit card debt to determine the value of your belongings. They know that credit cards are used on all kinds of intangible purchases.

      If you file a Chap 13, you can keep non exempt assets if you pay unsecured creditors at least their value during the plan. But, don't file a Chap 13 to keep a bunch of what sounds like pretty worthless stuff. If your stuff is worth more than the exemptions, exempt what is most important to you. Chances are, the trustee is not going to want to bother with the rest. It sounds like it will cost more money to take and sell the stuff you are talking about than it will sell for.

      justbroke is from Florida and may be able to give you more information on what may or may not inspire the trustee to send an appraiser.
      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Janetdoe View Post
        I want to add that I've met with one attorney but I plan on meeting several more before hiring one. Reading these boards you realize just how important it is to get a good one!
        Yes! And a good one will help guide you in listing and valuing your property.
        LadyInTheRed is in the black!
        Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
        $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

        Comment


        • #5
          The Middle District of Florida (Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Sarasota/Bradenton, Fort Myers) covers Tampa. This "was" one of the Districts where the Chapter 7 Trustees were notorious for sending an appraiser. It really depends on too many factors and I can't say if an appraiser will be sent. Some factors include, literally, the size of your home, your income, and whether you're using the "unused" homestead exemption.

          The only way you are really going to quantify what you have for exemptions is when you get into the actual process. The consultations will usually just touch on the available (and super limited) exemptions. Florida is not known for really great exemptions for personal property (such as car, furniture, clothing, etc). As LadyInTheRed wrote, determining the value of your furnishings is important. I guess at mine as much as the next person, but don't over value things!

          I wish you the best.
          Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
          Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
          Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


          I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Valuing the home is so bizarre here because the market fluctuates so much! A year ago I would have told you it's worth half what we owe based on the market. Now it's probably even, maybe slightly less, maybe slightly more. It's going to be interesting to find out. I live in an older neighborhood. 1960's houses that are mainly 2 bed/1-2 bath and Zillow has it in my opinion over valued. I don't think I could sell the house for what they have it listed for. By their estimates it would be $15,000 in equity. Closer to then should I hire an appraiser of my own?
            I really want to be fair in valuing my items, but I'm afraid the true value is so low it's laughable for some things. We've lived with such student loan debt (started with 150K private loan) that we've had to live slim and save where we could to pay student loans, mortgage, bills, and now credit cards which helped us through.
            I posted a few months ago, but the reason we are waiting to file is that my husband is having brain surgery soon. We want to wait until all those bills start coming in because we are anticipating there to be a LOT of them.

            Thanks for all your advice. I wish I could just get this over with!

            Comment


            • #7
              I have noticed, in Florida, that several attorneys use the County's market value. I would not get an appraisal on the property unless i were in a Chapter 13 and I was stripping junior liens.
              Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
              Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
              Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog


              I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wouldn't worry too much about valuing your property too low. If the trustee has questions, he'll ask at the 341 and you can explain the condition things.
                LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi, I don't have an answer for you right now I am currently waiting for an appraisal of our goods. We are in Middle District Florida and had our 341 meeting the end of February in Tampa. At the time, everything looked good and the trustee said nothing about appraising our goods. We are using the homestead and carefully listed our belongings. Like you, our furniture is very old and we really don't have much. Last week, we received a letter in the mail that an appraisal was required. Our attorney has told me not to even worry. . I'm almost embarrassed to have the appraiser see our junk! They will be coming this week so I can tell you how it goes if you would like.
                  Last edited by msmith16; 03-21-2016, 11:46 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    msmith16, please do let us know how it goes. This is something that many from Florida are concerned about when they are getting ready to file BK.
                    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I will do that. I found out they will be coming next Monday afternoon and I will update that evening.

                      Comment

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