For both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, a bankruptcy appraisal is necessary for the valuation of real estate assets. It’s advisable to have these valuations done by a company with experience in bankruptcy appraisals, since bankruptcy judges look at not only the valuations themselves, but the underlying factual analysis from which the valuations are derived. The appraisal needs to be defensible, easy to comprehend and convincing.
Why Bankruptcy Court Needs an Appraisal
The bankruptcy court uses an appraisal for two main purposes. First, the court needs an appraisal to determine whether certain property of the debtor is exempt from the claims of creditors. In many cases, the court will protect a debtor’s house and/or other property, such as a car, from the claims of creditors. Second, the appraisal is used to determine whether the debtor has sufficient assets to pay his/her debts. If (s)he does, the bankruptcy petition will likely be denied or the debtor will be required to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead and establish a payment plan to pay creditors.
Appraisals for Debtors
Before going through the bankruptcy process, a debtor should explore whether they are likely to be successful in getting their debts discharged under Chapter 7, or succeed in getting a repayment program approved under Chapter 13. An appraisal gives a debtor solid factual information about the value of their property, which can help the debtor or their council decide which type of bankruptcy to file or whether to file at all.
Don’t make the mistake of getting a cheap appraisal. If you’re filing for bankruptcy, it behooves you to invest in a professional appraisal. An appraisal that is not professional, or appears to be slanted in favor of the debtor, is unlikely to find favor with the court. If a value is listed too high, a client may miss out on the availability of a Chapter 7 and/or end of paying back more than necessary in a Chapter 13. It’s illegal to file a dishonest appraisal with the court, and some debtors have been prosecuted for doing so. By having an appraisal conducted by a reputable company with high ethical and professional standards, you tilt the odds in your favor.
Trust Qualified Professionals
For these reasons, real estate appraisers perform an integral function in the bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy professionals need to hire, work with and rely on experienced real estate appraisers. At Correct Appraisals, our team of certified and experienced appraisers understand the complexities involved in assessing the value of a property under these difficult circumstances and work hard to provide you with the smoothest experience possible.