Saturday, October 1, 2011



FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - All of us have purchased a new or used car. Do you remember if you offered the seller more than the asking price? Of course, the answer is that you distinctly recall NOT offering more than the asking price. So why, in your Florida bankruptcy proceeding, would you pay perhaps thousands more for the car that's currently parked in your driveway?

Certain things in your life are necessary to start the rebuilding process and one of them is your automobile. Neither you nor your Florida bankruptcy attorney gets to say what your car's Fair Market Value is. In all cases, someone at the bankruptcy court will assign a dollar value to your car, often obtained from sources such as Kelley Blue Book or the NADA Guide. Sometimes the courts determinations far exceed what you know the car is worth if you had to sell it.

When that happens, your lawyer will request that you obtain an FMV evaluation from a Florida licensed appraiser. But bear this in mind, even when the court's assessment seems in line with what your bankruptcy attorney feels the car is worth, you are still going to pay more than the car's Fair Market Value.

The sad truth is that the used car market simply doesn't esteem cars and trucks as highly as the guide books do. Add to that the oil leak, the rip in the driver's seat and the various dings and scratches - all things that are not considered by the court in making their determination - you've talked yourself into buying a car for what could be a lot more than it's worth. Whether your bankruptcy is taking place in a big city like Miami or a rural town like Stuart, the same formula applies.

I will leave Florida's consumers and Florida bankruptcy attorneys with a final analysis. Appraisals done of late-model cars, exotics and most high-end vans and SUVs will show the most divergence from standard book values - almost always in the thousands of dollars. In the case of a typical compact or mid-size car or other vehicles that are older, an average difference is more like $750-$1000.

Our fee schedule appears below. You do the math.

The St. Lucie Appraisal Company
P.O. Box 2700
Fort Pierce, FL 34954
Phone: (772) 359-4300
Fax: (772) 466-8400


Our service area includes St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties. Cities include Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Hollywood, Hallandale, Miami, Opa Locka, Hialeah, Coral Gables, Kendall and Homestead.

Diminished Value Appraisals throughout Florida including, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Clearwater, Kissimmee, Melbourne, Daytona Beach, Ocala, Gainesville, Bradenton, Titusville, Panama City, Bonita Springs, Naples, St. Petersburg and Tallahassee.

Our rates for services are as follows:

Auto Appraisals (Donations, Bankruptcy, Divorce, Insurance Disputes) $175.00

Stated Value Appraisals (Antique & Classic Cars, Street Rods, Motorcycles, RVs, Trucks) $175.00

Auto/Truck/RV Condition Reports $275.00 and Up

Diminished Value Appraisals (Determines how much less your car is worth after accident repairs) $275.00

Personal Property Appraisals (Contents, Collectibles, Art, Antiques) $225.00 and Up

All other services including trial prep and additional time when necessary $75/Hr.

Expert Witness - Court Appearances, Depositions, Mediation $225/Hr.

You may obtain appraisals for Financing, Charitable Donation Tax Credits, Collateral, Damage Claims, Equitable Distribution, Bankruptcy, Estates, Insurance Stated Value, Purchase & Sale and Diminished Value.

Appraisals of Personal Property, Art, Boats, Classic & Custom Autos, Antiques, Collectibles & Memorabilia, Electronics, Machinery, Motorcycles & Choppers, Furnishings, RVs, Trucks & Heavy Equipment. Business Valuations specializing in all types of small businesses.


Keywords for this article: appraiser, attorney, automobile, BANKRUPTCY, book value, car, consumer, court, fair market value, florida, Fort Lauderdale, Kelley Blue Book, lawyer, licensed, Miami, NADA, Stuart, USED CAR, value

Revised 08/29/2012
Updated 06-18-2013