Agent

How to find past market value of a property

Homeowner not advised to go it alone

DEAR BOB: How can I determine the market value of my house at the time my husband died in 1987? I am thinking of selling it and need the stepped-up basis, as I was the surviving joint tenant. Now I am 81 and would like to do the search myself and have the time to do it so I can save money --Ines A. DEAR INES: I understand your desire to save a few dollars but determining your home's "stepped-up basis" is not a job for an amateur. You need a documented professional appraisal by an appraiser who specializes in determining past market values. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. The professional appraiser will research 1987 sales prices of comparable homes like yours in your vicinity. He or she has access to this past information, which is not easily available to the public. Your cost, perhaps $1,000 or so, will be a worthwhile expenditure after you consider your substantial sales profit and the capital gain tax that documentation will save you. The best place to find a local appraiser who...