How do I value my house?

A person’s house is always of interest to a bankruptcy trustee. The value of your home will determine how much you pay in a chapter 13 (of if you can remove your second mortgage) or if the trustee wants to sell it in a chapter 7. So what do you use to get a good value of your house?

The first choice is your tax assessment. Every year, the County determines what it believes your house is work and assesses property tax based on it. The main advantage is it is free, the main drawback is that it is somewhat inaccurate. The tax assessment tends to value low in a rising market and high in a falling market.

Next choice is to get a comparative market analysis or CMA or comps. A Realtor should be able to get you this number. It essentially looks as similar properties sold in your area and guesses what yours would be worth. Again, it is an estimate and can be inaccurate, but it is generally more accurate than the tax assessment.

Finally, you can get an appraisal. An appraisal will be done by a appraiser who will looks specifically at your property and will assign a value. This is normally the most accurate as the appraiser looks at your specific property and adjusts up or down based on your specific property. If there is a dispute on the value of your home, the appraisal is the best evidence you can get. An appraisal will cost around $500

If you retain us for your bankruptcy, we can advise you of if an appraisal is necessary. If it is, we can also provide referrals. Remember that in bankruptcy, you generally want a lower appraisal rather than the high appraisal you’ll usually get if you were trying to refi or qualify for a mortgage.

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