Subject: Real Estate Fraud, Misrepresentation, or a Terrible Economy? Which is it?
Stable Economy? Where? Did I pick the wrong community to buy a home in? Well, it sure looks like it...
A $40,000 loss in a single family home property appraisal value in 12 months is either fraud, misrepresentation, or proof of an economy going the wrong way. Our home may wind up vacant and this may force us into bankruptcy along with many other. My first real estate purchase in my life is turning out to be the absolute worst investment I have ever made in my life..
Read my complaint letter to Countrywide and LandSafe below:
Before venting my frustration regarding our recent Countrywide experience, I would like to make it clear that Michael Posey has and continues to be professional, courteous, and empathetic. Being a service and quality professional myself, I believe he is a great asset to your organization and you should be proud to call him an employee. In addition, my wife and I have been extremely happy with all contacts with Countrywide and Countrywide services until now. Our prior positive experiences with Countrywide and the professionalism of Michael Posey remain the only reasons we have been patient throughout this painful process, but such patience is quickly being lost as this process moves closer to negatively impacting our family both emotionally and financially.
To summarize the problem; we started the process of refinancing our home roughly two months prior to an expected rate increase. All was going well until the LandSafe organization's contracted appraiser completed and submitted his appraisal to Countrywide at a level nearly $36,000 less than the appraisal used last year to obtain the HELOC and nearly $54,000 less than the value provided by the Weld County Assessor's Office. Now, the appraiser and LandSafe are apparently not responding to repeated requests to justify the appraisal and delays beyond our control continue.
To provide some background supporting our concern, we bought this (our first) home on May 31, 2002 and refinanced roughly two years ago for a lower rate at $197K based on an appraisal of roughly $220K. Even as recent as a year ago, we obtained a HELOC through Countrywide with the same level of appraisal. Based on these numbers alone and the short timeframe between the last appraisal for the HELOC and now, this ridiculously low appraisal of $184K seems dramatically out of line for our home which is listed at a total property value of $238,347 by the Weld County Assessor's office. The home is located in a newer and growing community with comparable homes (of which this model is one of the largest in the area) being sold in the $200-250K range. Even vacant foreclosure homes with 500 less square feet, beat up interiors, destroyed landscaping, and fewer rooms are selling for the appraisal value given here. It simply does not make any sense!
First, I am requesting a second appraisal of which will be paid for by Countrywide and completion of this process no later than July 1st, 2006. Second, if this ridiculously low appraisal value stands, I am also requesting a written explanation by a Countrywide executive justifying how a single year in this growing area of Colorado could render such a dramatic loss on an individual family home. In this case, I intend to take such information to the local media to warn other potential home owners about this serious decline in value based on the information provided by Countrywide and LandSafe.
However, I am hopeful this will not be necessary and someone at a management level in the Countrywide organization will promptly move this process forward and provide us some level of comfort that Countrywide truly cares about our business as an individual family. The delays caused by the Countrywide appraisal review process and the dramatic financial loss as presented by the perceived incompetent LandSafe appraiser are substantial enough for us to seriously consider bringing our current and future business elsewhere and/or consulting with legal counsel.
As a side note, it amazes me that someone as young as 18 can go spend $100 on the Registered Appraiser application and as little as two weeks (75 hours) in a classroom to learn just enough to pass the ASI Level A exam when they have such a substantial role in the real estate market and the emotional and financial lives of home owners they come in contact with. This being said, why does an organization like Countrywide place so much stock in the opinion of individuals that simply plug information into a computer program only to return a number with little regard for validating its accuracy?
As of 6/19/06, Full Spectrum closed the refinance efforts and severed communication following my complaint above being submitted to them. I did not receive a second appraisal as requested and I have not and probably will not receive a written explanation regarding the loss from a corporate executive as requested. We are seriously looking to cash out my 401k and pension plan that has been funded for the past 6 years just to get us down to only 13k above this ridiculous appraisal value. We are also looking for additional mortgage resources and companies that are more ethical and realistic than how we now feel about Countrywide, Full Spectrum, and LandSafe. Even though we never want to do business with these companies again, we may someday again get stuck since they sell the mortgage notes all the time without the buyer's authorization. -
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