Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Home Value

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  • Home Value

    Hello -- We are planning on filing Ch 7 (pro se) June 1. These forums are already proving so helpful. My question has to do with the difference in home valuation. Our home was appraised at $170k July 2015 when we refinanced. Our county assessor's website shows valuation of $176,500. There are several things that need to be repaired cosmetically and maybe structurally in one part. We would not anticipate receiving an offer of $170k if we were to sell. We're signing load mod documents today and sending back via FedEx this afternoon so that will be in place prior to filing. Our balance is just over $147k. I really hope we can use the lower valuation from the 2015 appraisal. Thoughts?

    We also have a HELOC with a balance of around $8k -- just FYI.

  • #2
    In my opinion, an appraisal from nearly a year ago would not be an accurate representation of its current value, especially since values have risen in many markets in the past year.

    An updated appraisal is the best recommendation. If you want to avoid the expense of another appraisal, you may want to get a brokers price opinion -- basically a write-up from a real estate broker that estimates your property's value. If this is in line with your appraisal, I'd submit them together. If not, I'd consider getting more than one broker's price opinion. Perhaps you're considering selling your home and would like to get an idea of what you could make?

    Ultimately the question is: will your local court accept a BPO in lieu of an appraisal, and/or will it accept a year-old appraisal?

    Edit: Another thought -- if your home is in a part of a community where all units are relatively the same, you may also be able to justify the value by looking at sales in the past six months (which is typically what an appraiser will do). The more unique your property/community (different size lot, view, floorplan, size, etc.) the harder this approach will be.


    • #3
      On another note, how much equity can you exempt in your state? If all of your equity is exempted at the higher value, then I wouldn't worry about spending a lot of time/money justifying the value.

      If, on the other hand, you are concerned there's a lot of non-exempt equity based on what your last appraisal/Zillow/tax assessors says, then you may want to be prepared with documentation that supports your claimed value.


      • #4
        In Arkansas I can use federal exemptions which are much better as far as the homestead exemption goes. I am unsure as to whether couples filing BK jointly can double their exemptions in our state. I need to get clarification on that. If we cannot, then I'm calculating it like this:

        Home Value (assessor's office) $176,500
        --- Balance $147,047
        --- HELOC $8,000
        = $21,453 equity which is under the $23,675 allowed in federal exemptions.

        This would leave us $2,222 unused homestead equity that we can use to cover the $1,581 equity in my husband's motorcycle which is his only mode of transportation. We have one family car that I drive that has no equity and one vehicle that is our college daughter's that we will need to use the allowable $3,775 federal exemption for. Of course, if Arkansas allows married couples to double exemptions, then that will just insure that we have plenty of wiggle room.


        • #5
          It is my understanding that you can double federal exemptions. So you're likely fine at either value.


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