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Loan Officer responsible for appraisal fee?

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Sooner Mike

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Oklahoma
I took a check at the door payable to the lending institution. They were to hold this check untill closing. Thirty-some-odd days later I get the check in the mail, endorsed to me, and the homeowner has stopped payment.

I faxed the lender an invoice letting them know that the check was no good and the balance of the appraisal fee was still due. After another thirty-some-odd days (and a few other faxes), I get this phone call today:

"Our loan officers are responsible for appraisal fees on appraisals that they order. If the loan does not go through and the customer will not pay for the appraisal, then the loan officer is to pay."

Well, the loan officer is a friend of mine (no longer working there, of course), and I, of course, no longer do business with that particular lender.

If this is not the most insane thing that I have ever heard, then I do not know what is. I guess that I should have had "Joe Loanofficer" as the Client/Lender on the report, do you think that would have gotten past underwriting?

I have yet to file legal action on any client, or deadbeat homeowner, but I think my side of the story just might hold up in court.
 

David Mullen

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
I would take both of them to small claims court. A small claims advisor (attorney) told me once to name everyone involved because you don't want them "pointing at the empty chair".

I have them served by a Marshal rather than mail because it drives up the court costs that you can also recover from them (you will need to ask for them to be awarded).

I would also call my local District Attorney and ask if it is a crime to stop payment on a check to avoid paying an obligation. In some areas it is.

Also, in some areas (mine included) you can collect triple damages for a bad check (you must also ask for this).

See if your local small claims court has a free legal advisor. They can be very helpful and the whole process is very easy.

Oh yes, send "demand letters" to the homeowner and the lender prior to filing the action and give them a due date for payment.
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Sooooner Mike;
we'll just assume you have both the company name & the LO's name on the order form. If it does not spell out the terms of payment, we'll assume the typical responsibility.

hopefully you've retained a copy of the front and back of the check :?:

you may have 2 choices if you have copies of the check-will assume you do.

1-draw up a small claims form for an "attempt to defraud"

2-and wire & mail fraud - (interstate will depend on the company location) and file it thru an attorney with the court. (induces prompt payment)

Check with your attorney before submitting, so you are within your state law's rights. Obtain your attorney's fees up front & include them in the action. I do not pursue any action without an attorney's advice, as that is part of our business expenses.

Good Luck 8)
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
My understanding and experience has been that if you have a order from the Lender requesting an appraisal the Court will assume the (the buisness) to be responsible for the fee unless the order (a contract I believe) states otherwise. i.e. Customer to pay at door.

If it is their policy that the Loan Officer is responsible then that is between them and the Loan Officer, not you!

Take them to Small Claims and let them explain to the Judge!
 

rtubbs

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Sooner Mike

We all live and learn. I would never, never, and I mean never, take a check at the door made payable to the lender or to any other party. That's a sure fire sign that you aren't going to get paid.

I've probably had 5 calls this week for appraisals from out of town lenders. As soon as I tell them my policy is to collect at the door, they hang up (some not so politely). I look at it this way: would I rather loose the fee for 5 appraisals that I spent hours on or would I rather loose the fee for 5 appraisals that I didn't spend any time on? I always choose the latter.

Ron in Alabama
 
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