Value of Your Home for Bankruptcy
Determining the value of your home is one of the more important tasks in a bankruptcy. Currently, every state has a homestead exemption of some sort, the extent of the protection depends on the exemptions that are available to you when filing. In Arizona, the homestead exception is $150,000, and it does not matter whether a single person or a married couple claims the exemption. Also, if you have more than one property to which the homestead exemption could apply, a creditor may require you to designate to which property the exemption applies.
By having an accurate value of your house, you can deduct the mortgage balance and determine the equity. If the equity is less than the amount of the homestead protection available, your house will be protected in bankruptcy. However, if the equity is more than the exemption, the trustee can seize the home in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, and a chapter 13 might be a better option for you.
There are several ways to determine the value of your home. You can look at the county assessment for the property. However, websites like Zillow and yahoo real estate tend to be more accurate, and trustees use these websites to evaluate the property at first glance. Another option to pursue is hiring an appraiser, but resort this option as a last result. Filing for bankruptcy can be expensive enough, save money whenever you get the chance.