appraiser talking to previous owner?

cheapheapMarch 25, 2009


Is it common practice or even legal for an appraiser to talk with the previous owner of a property? The reason that I ask is that I purchased a property (my only) about a year ago and have recently been trying to refinance. Everything was seemingly going fine until the appraisal came back way short of what I was expecting (higher than what I owe, but not good). I have not seen the appraisal report yet, but from my conversation with the lender (who was upset with me), the appraiser talked with someone who he seemed to believe was the previous owner who told him that the well water on the place (this is in an area with wells but the property has no well yet) was "bad" - which is news to me and my paperwork from the seller (as well as just not correct at all).

My main problem would come in right here. The previous owner is far away, seemed to be hard to reach (especially in such a short period of time), and I doubt so dumb as to incriminate himself so flagrantly. The appraiser more likely talked to a local estranged (for good reason) relative of the seller (who was renting out the property illegally and did not want to stop -and didnÂt- simply because I owned the property) or the private/professional investor that holds the note. I would add here that the appraiser never talked to myself or toured the property - it is a sloped small acreage and they did take pictures from as far as I can gather 1 of the gates. The appraisal also was received by the lender 1 week late (customary?).

If the appraisal was legitimate and just lower than I expected, I can live with that (not that IÂd have much of a choice) - but I feel that something just isnÂt right here and IÂd appreciate any advice.


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Have you spoken with the appraiser directly and/or asked for the report? You're depending on rumors to make sense of things and it's really not going to help much if you do that, only confuse the issue more. If the appraiser is from a reputable place/company then I'd stick with what he says and look at the report. After all, he doesn't have a personal interest in your place, but if he has been misled, should know about it, rather than be suspected of being under handed.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 5:35AM
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Am I missing something? You say there is no well but the appraiser says your well is bad? If that is true, I would find a way to prove there was no well.

If anything, nothing is selling which would account for your low appraisal. If the appraisal bothers you, pay someone yourself to do another one.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 10:54AM
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Get your health department to test the water.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 2:09PM
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Thank you for the replies.

I have never spoken to the appraiser or even his "office" - I have left polite messages that request that he call me. He called on a Saturday (the Saturday after the Tuesday on which the appraisal was "due"), I returned the call on Sunday (left a message) and the report was at the lender on Monday.

I donÂt know how appraisers work in other areas but here it seems that the requirements are a small pickup, a cell phone, and a color printer (or access to a Kinkos or similar) - a ladder would be going the extra mile. They are not employed by firms or have employees other than their spouse - there are literally hundreds of "companies" in my area that could have been called upon. -A search of his name and company information place him right as his house as expected.

I apologize if that sounded too negative, they provide a valuable service but IMO reputation depends on whom you talk to and they are not generally hired based on it.

There is no well to be tested (wish that there was). The county has an extensive (and easily searchable) list of wells - it is needed for septic approvals.

Sadly, the damage is done and I have moved on - as did the lender (who could blame them). I do not really expect to ever see the appraisal report - It would make for an interesting hobby for a while though.

Thanks Again.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:58PM
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"I do not really expect to ever see the appraisal report - It would make for an interesting hobby for a while though."

If you paid for the appraisal, you have the right to a copy.
(p.s. I don't know if the link below is an up to date reference, but you do have a right to a copy)

Here is a link that might be useful: Rules on providing appraisal reports.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 1:18PM
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I agree, if you paid for the appraisal you must get a copy. Who requested the appriasal--loan company? Have you paid any fees yet? Did you fill out an application and pay for investigation reports like credit reports and pay for this. Did your lender just turn you down and will this effect your credit report for future request. Without a well you may not be able to refinace it as a livable piece of property. Is your lender a bank or??

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 10:53PM
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I'm confused... you say the report came back more than you owe. Doesn't that make you good for the refinance? And if so, then who cares about the rest?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 7:41AM
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