As many have heard, over 70% of homeowners in Harris County are facing higher tax bills because the value of their houses are rising. This affects bankruptcy cases because a higher value may mean the inability to use Federal exemptions or strip off second mortgages and HOA liens. It may also mean Chapter 7 Trustees now viewing how a debtor arrived at the value with a more skeptical eye.
From a practical perspective, our office already has one creditor protesting about our value in the case. If you look at the new Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) numbers, you will see TWO values. You will see the market value (which on one case, I noticed had gone up over 40% in one year!) and the appraisal value. The appraisal value is lower and likely the one used for determining taxes. I am guessing, that going forward, market value now will be the indicator everyone looks at.
In Family Law, this can be an issue when arguing over property settlements and disputes over equity to be paid or equity owed. Values are going up now. A lot. It could affect your arguments. A house with no equity may very well have equity now.
We may very well be facing more value disputes in the near future, so we need to be ready for it. We may also have to look at the need to employ certified appraisers too. If the issue is right and the case calls for it, that may be the best option.