Many Georgia consumers who file bankruptcy will ask, “How can I find out the true of my house before I file?”
As I’ve stated in a previous post, determining the value of your house in Georgia must be done before you file because this value may determine whether your file Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A great place to start when trying to determine the value of your house is the Georgia Tax Assessors website. On this site, you can get to your Georgia County’s webpage and find out how much your county has valued your house for tax purposes. Also, you can look at your most recent property tax bill. Somewhere on the tax bill, you should see a section that says fair market value.
While the tax bill is a great place to start, you can’t totally rely on it because they can be extremely low in some cases. For example, Publix has recently decided to build a new grocery story right across from Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Georgia. If you own a house within walking distance to the new Publix in Rome, your house might be worth more to a potential buyer. If your house has potential commercial value, this could really drive up the value.
In contrast, if a local Georgia utility is about to put power lines across your property, this will lower the value significantly. I recently had a bankruptcy client from Chatsworth, Georgia who suffered through this type of devaluation of their dream farm.
The question that every homeowner must ask before filing any bankruptcy is “Under current market conditions, how much would a willing buyer pay for my house?”
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee has the right to market your house. Since most people who file bankruptcy have very little equity in their homes, this almost never happens.
The most reliable way to get a firm grasp on the value of your home is to get a professional appraisal. An experienced expert can compare your house to recent sales of similar homes and get an accurate estimate of the value of your house.
It also never hurts to ask a local realtor to give their opinion about a proper asking price for you house. Many local realtors tend to have a firm grasp of what is going on in local areas that bring prices up or down.
Any person who is considering bankruptcy should do their best to make the most accurate estimate of the value of their home.