appraiser talking to previous owner?
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.