Have you accumulated debt for a long time, and you feel like you’re on the brink of bankruptcy? While everyone goes into a rollercoaster when they’re about to reach this phase, you can do better than being consumed by the mental and emotional turmoil it brings. It may feel like bankruptcy will leave you with absolutely nothing, but think again. You still have options to soften its blow. And one of which is to consider selling your house.
In this article, we brush through the relationship between bankruptcy and selling a home, so you can better prepare for them even before speaking to a >$50/hour legal bankruptcy consultant. But first, let’s review the bankruptcy process in Warner Robins.
Bankruptcy in Warner Robins
For individual homeowners like you, you have the option to file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, whichever you are qualified for. With Chapter 13, the court grants you time to repay all your debts, and you can be given 3-5 years. On the other hand, with Chapter 7, you agree to give up all your qualified assets (e.g. other properties) to pay off your debt within a short time.
Either way, before the court approves your filing for bankruptcy, you’ll need to go through these steps:
For the court to know whether you are eligible to file for bankruptcy or not, you’ll need to provide proof. And these include:
- Documents related to your debts
- Proof of income for the last six (6) months
- Tax returns for the last two (2) years
- Latest bank account statements
- Retirement / investment account statements
- Official appraisal report of all real estate under your name
- Vehicle registrations
2. Credit Counseling
According to the Bankruptcy Code, all filers must take credit counselling and financial management courses before and after filing for bankruptcy, respectively. If your household income is 150% lower than the national poverty threshold, you don’t have to pay for the courses. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay between $10-$50, depending on the course provider.
Likewise, this is where you’ll know what type of bankruptcy you can file for using the means test stipulated in Section 707 of the Bankruptcy Code.
3. Bankruptcy Forms
After the first counselling, you’ll have to fill-up the necessary bankruptcy forms. In Georgia, there are about 20 forms to fill-up. You can either download these forms online, hire a bankruptcy lawyer to handle them, or use a bankruptcy software program for all the calculations.
5. Filing Fee
According to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules, a filing fee of $338 is required to process your application. You can either pay for this upfront, pay in installments up to four (4) months, or apply for a waiver and not pay at all. Do note, though, that the waiver is only for people who have a household income that’s 150% below the federal poverty threshold.
6. Local Bankrupcty Court
Once you’re done paying, you can print out all your forms, attached the Course 1 certificate, and submit everything to the court.
7. Financial Management Course
Once you’ve filed your documents, you’ll have to enroll in a financial management course or debtor education course. You’ll need your bankruptcy case number to enroll for this. Only after you’ve completed the course will the court grant you a bankruptcy discharge.
To give you a better picture of the timeline, here is an example from one of the legal offices based in California.
Does Selling Your Home Help Your Bankruptcy?
Yes, selling your home helps your bankruptcy, regardless if you sell it before or after your filing. However, those who are allowed to sell it after filing would only be those people who are qualified for Chapter 13. In this case, you’ll need to wait for 21 days after filing your bankruptcy for you to keep your right to sell your home.
Although your home will be in your trustee’s name by this time, you’ll still have the right to sell it. The only catch is, you’ll need to ask permission from your trustee by submitting a “Proposal for the Distribution of Sales Proceeds”. And upon getting your purchase payment from your home buyer, the trustee will be the one to handle the money and distribute it according to the approved proposal.
What’s an Alternative?
Even if you can sell the house after filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, wouldn’t it be too much of a hassle if you’re going to wait after filing? Well, the good news is, you can calculate whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 yourself.
If you qualify for Chapter 13, then you’ll have the chance to sell your home after filing. But, if you’re only eligible for Chapter 7, you won’t have the same opportunity. The best approach, in this case, would be to consider selling your home right now or before you take Course 1. Anyway, you can use the money to pay your debt at least partially, and you won’t have to file for bankruptcy anymore!
Note that all of the information above is just icing on the cake. The process and requirements to file for bankruptcy in real life may be lengthier and more hassle than what it seems here. If you ever need professional help navigating this issue and how selling your home can address it, contact us at Spire Property Solutions. We can make a cash offer for your house, and we can close in as fast as 14 days. You can leave us with your contact information in the form below or call us at (678) 318 – 1801.