I ran across several other 'rip-offs' from Countrywide and their Landsafe appraisal partner on this site and felt compelled to write another.
We've been desperately trying to refinance the two mortgages on our home and Countrywide sucked us in hook, line, and sinker. Over the phone, the agent that was working with us, said his data showed that our home should EASILY fall into the $410K-$450K range depending on the appraisal. They'd be able to do a 90% loan to value based on our credit, and all that was needed was $495 cash for the appraisal! The whole thing would be done in 12 days. Now I've been through countless appraisals, know people in the appraisal business, and it's the highest I've ever heard of.
But.....knowing that we only owed $355K, even if we appraised at the low end we'd still be able to roll both mortgages and another $14K from debt into this loan and save over $1000 per month on bills. Can't miss offer right!?
We bought the home in '05 for $330K; one year later in August of '06 the house appraised for $380K; and 1.5 years later (one week ago) the Landsafe "Scam Co." appraised our house for the same $380K. I know the market isn't great right now....but it's a rip-off. Now Countrywide says they can't do anything for us - won't refund any portion of the appraisal fee (even though I know it didn't cost $495) - and have a nice day.
We are currently working with a different lender and as soon as we mentioned Countrywide, and what had happened, she couldn't choke on her water fast enough to tell us that she too has heard of countless people paying for appraisals and then being denied for one reason or another. Stay away from Countrywide; stay away from Landsafe; and happy refinancing!!