Report: #307117

Complaint Review: CountryWide - Landsafe - Washington State Appraisal

  • Submitted: Thu, February 07, 2008
  • Updated: Tue, July 29, 2008
  • Reported By: Renton Washington
  • CountryWide - Landsafe - Washington State Appraisal
    Kent, Washington

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

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!!

Renton, Washington
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/07/2008 05:24 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

LandSafe and Appraisals

AUTHOR: Suzanne - (U.S.A.)

I am an independent contractor for LandSafe providing appraisal services. Yes, LandSafe is owned by Countrywide and conflict of interest does arise. However, most banks hire staff appraisers. To date, it is generally the best way to insure an unbiased appraisal, which is critical to a lender's ability to make a sound lending decision. In the 2 years I've worked with LandSafe, I have not experienced any undue influence in determining property values. In other words, I am allowed to do my job the way I am supposed to. And, yes, a loan may very well be denied based on the appraisal. An appraisal is a tool banks use to determine whether or not to make a loan. Any loan officer who tells you that you could not be turned down based in the results of an appraisal is lying. And, no, you will not get a refund. If an appraisal is completed and delivered, services have been rendered. It is illegal for an appraiser to base fees on an appraisal coming in at a certain value or attaining a certain result (such as closing a loan).

The homeowner in Washington may have been offered "blue skies" by the loan officer, who is not an appraiser and likely has very little knowledge in the appraisal process. The ONLY way to get an accurate value for a home is to have it appraised by a licensed appraiser. Current market conditions make my job more difficult as the market is far more complex; to expect a layman to determine the value is unrealistic. I can tell you that loan officers sometimes use assessor's records, and various other websites to get a ballpark idea of a home's value. Where they put you in the ballpark often depends on what you tell them about your house. From years of experience, I can tell you that most homeowners have a far better opinion of their home than an unbiased observer would.

While LandSafe's "appraisal fee" may be higher than most, it should be understood that LandSafe also pays its appraisers a decent fee (discounted but far better than most appraisal management companies). The fee may also include the credit report and/or title search as these are also services LandSafe provides which are necessary to any home loan. Fees also vary depending on the property (if it complex or unique, the fee will be higher), cost of living in the market area, and may include rush fees if the report is needed in a very short time. Please be aware that an appraiser's biggest business expense is gasoline.

Bottom line: Any loan officer can tell you (and MANY will) what they think your house is worth, but appraising is a complex field and you should not rely on the opinion of someone who is not a professional. And, make sure you know what you are paying for and why.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Countrywide/Landsafe are the same company

AUTHOR: Virglynn - (U.S.A.)

My daughter was hired by Countrywide in Plano a couple of months ago. When she came home to tell me about her duties of her new job she said she is actually working for Landsafe. Her job is to set appointments for the appraisers. The appraisors actually call in to Landsafe to get their assignments.

When Countrywide is forclosing, bidding to purchase, or selling a home to an individual they hire Landsafe to do the appraisal and charge the customer if it's a sale or refi. Every time Countrywide pays Landsafe for an appraisal they are paying themselves. The Landsafe company is owned by Countrywide and they all work in the same huge building in Plano, Texas. They even do what they call "Drive By Appraisals" where they don't even go inside of the house. They are charging big bucks for it.

I told my daughter this is a conflict of interest and when she asked them about it they told her trainer said "well kind of, but not really" and to please not mention it again.

She has told me some terrible stories already about the crooked practices of this company. Now they have been bought out by Bank of America but Landsafe is still doing the appraisals.
You should sue them for what they did to you. That is exactly what I would do.

My daughter is looking for another job so she can quit with them. I can't believe the government puts up with this and they must know all about it. All of them lining their pockets with the consumers money.

Worst ripoff scam I have ever seen!!!
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