Our bankruptcy has been plagued by difficulty. First we were selected for a random audit, which our lawyer says, rarely happens (We passed). Now we are being singled out for a personal property appraisal, which, our lawyer tells us, also rarely happens.
We are only allowed $1,000 each for a total of $2,000 worth of personal property exemptions. Well, we are a family of 5 living in a 2 story house. Although we don't own anything valuable, we own a LOT of stuff. I'm worried that the appraier is going to say we own more than $2,000 worth of stuff, just becaue of the amount of stuff. Our lawyer tells us this is "no big deal," but of course it's not a big deal to him, he doesn't risk losing anything. This is a very big deal to us. Our lawyer says we will have the opportunity to "buy back" anything over the $2,000 exemption. Unfortunately, my husband's salary was just cut significantly. Between his salary and mine, we barely have enough to pay the bills and living expenses, plus we have a baby due in January. We couldn't afford to buy back anything, nor could we afford to replace anything that was seized. Is there anything we can do to avoid this? Can we get some sort of hardship appeal?
Between our first and second mortgage, we owe $232,000 on our house. According to zillow.com, it's worth $239,000. So our Homestead Exemption is only protecting about $7,000 worth of equity. Can we increase our personal property exemption base on this?
We didn't want to file bankruptcy. We filed bankruptcy because we had no choice. We thought we could protect our assets and get a fresh start. Now we have to live through the humiliation of having our modest homegoods appraised and potentially seized for an auction to be sold for pennies on the dollar?! Any money made by the sale of our stuff wouldn't even be a drop in the bucket of our debt (roughly $75,000). None of our creditors contested the BK. So what is the point of torturing us and leaving us with an empty house?
We are terrified.
Any advice, suggestions, similar stories, ideas on what to expect from this process?