I have been compelled to write this letter to make as many people as possible aware of my concern with the way a recent transaction with Countrytwide Full Spectrum Lending was implemented. The property in question is 136 Ervin Dr., Hendersonville, TN. The buyers are Terry & Terri Foster; the sellers are Hary & Janete Walston. I represented the sellers as a Designated Agent.
The day before closing I was notified that we might experience a delay due to the fact that the title work was not ready. The day of closing (May 27) I got a call from Countrywide Full Spectrum Lending stating that it did appear we were now having a problem with the appraisal.please note that the appraisal was performed on May 16 by Jeff Crawford, a very conservative and well-respected appraiser in Hendersonville.
There was no indication of any problem initially after the appraisal was done; however, the DAY we were scheduled to close I received a call saying that there was a problem with the value and that initial appraisal was going to be subject to a field review. I actually spoke to David Bradford, another appraiser, who had gotten the order to perform the field review.
I spoke to him several times in an attempt to explain that this was certainly a unique property and I did have comps from the area that would support the original appraisal value of $315,000. He repeated and insisted that his comps WOULD NOT support the value of $315,000 and that he could only come up with a value of $285,000.
Please keep in mind that Mr. Bradford NEVER set foot upon the property in question despite my repeated attempts at encouraging him to do so. I was also told that another appraiser had been called by Countrywide to perform a field review. She, too, could only come up with an adjusted value of $285,000 and like Mr. Bradford NEVER set foot upon the property to actually do the field review.
Would it not be logical to assume that an appraiser would actually have to leave his/her office and go to the property to perform a satisfactory field review to correctly determine the market value of a particular property?
The final value given to 136 Ervin Drive was only $285,000, which, also, was the amount that Countrywide would finance for the buyers. This adjusted value seemed to be encouraged by Countrywide and certainly supported. The timing of this final decision by Countrywide was extremely detrimental to the sellers because they had already packed most of their belongings (only remaining furniture were the beds) to move out of state, had already gotten movers that had to be cancelled.
Their son, Hary Allen Walston, had already given notice at his current job and had committed to a job in Texas, the other son, Brad Walston who is self-employed, had shut down his business locally to open it up in Texas and Mr. Walston, who is stricken with Parkinson's Disease had severed ties with his physician in Nashville and had arranged to see a physician in Texas.
As you can see this made for a very difficult decision for the Walstons. They had already made arrangements to begin their life in Texas so the prospect of putting the house back on the market was not economically feasible or desirable. The sellers reluctantly agreed to renegotiate the contract to the appraisal value of $285,000. We subsequently closed the transaction on 7 June 2005.
It is the perception of myself and the sellers that, at best, the timeliness and earnestness to obtain an accurate appraisal of the property was not evident. Traditional policies and procedures did not appear to be followed in this process. At worst, the situation appears to have been manipulated to assure the value AND loan amount did not exceed $285,000.
I am writing to request a review of this transaction with particular attention paid to Countrywide Full Spectrum Lending and facilitation of the appraisal process.
This letter has been submitted to the Asst. Commissioner for Consumer Resources Division/State of Tennessee and the Federal Trade Commission.
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