Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 3:08 PM
My senior staff appraiser shared the following nightmare story – about a friend of his who is going through a mortgage refinance with one of the big US national banks regarding a house in Long Island, NY. Rather not say the bank name but a stagecoach comes to mind.
An appraisal was ordered through a big appraisal management company – Rels. Their appraiser used a condemned house with a big hole in the side of it – visible from the street – as a comparable sale presented in the report
Attached are the photos of the condemned house used by the appraiser in my friends appraisal…They are still fighting to have a new appraisal done. I will be honest the house was not this bad (when it was sold) as most of the siding has been removed. However, it was bought by a developer/LLC (not a person) and the condemned sign was on the door had the appraiser gotten out of the car. The hole in the side I believe was there as you can see that is the side with some siding still remaining.
The condemned house appears to have sold well under market value because a developer bought it to renovate and flip at market levels. No commentary or awareness of this was evident in the report. This condemned house is in the same neighborhood but the borrowers property happened to be updated and in good condition. Interestingly, I’m told the condemned sale was the outlier of the other sales presented in report that pulled the value well below the other “non-condemned” sales.
The slogan on the Rels web site is: Quality appraisals — and rapid turn times.
However I see the terms “quality” and “rapid” as mutually exclusive. “Quality” is more aligned with “timely” and “rapid” is more aligned with “fast and furious without review”.
The borrowers are peeved because although they can get a mortgage, the suspect report is in their file and they are worried it will haunt them later with a home equity application or something they haven’t thought of – after all – they paid for it. In fairness to Rels, it doesn’t sound like they are in the loop and the bank just wants to close the loan. The bank is making comments along the lines of “the appraisal won’t stay with your file, so just close” which seems to stray from my understanding of file documentation for lending.
Housing doesn’t recover until appraiser amateurism is eliminated from the lending process. Amazingly, large institutions still seem more interested in efficiency and a built-in “low” bias than getting valuation services that provide reliable results in order to make informed decisions to generate business with.