Frankly, builders are in a heap of trouble with excess inventory! (Just take a glance at Brian Brady’s mortgage blog for more details.)
So with this trouble comes questionable practices in order to unload properties. Get a Realtor (the price is built into the condo, you won’t get a better deal without one) to represent YOUR best interest.
I already called out one Arlington Condo builder with my: Beware: New Constructions Illegally Not Disclosing Seller Subsidies. After that article came out, that builder suddenly started disclosing their $50,000 seller subsidies. And Builder: Guaranteed Lowest Price* where builders use subsidies and decorator allowances so as not to technically drop the sales price and have to recalibrate earlier contracts.
Well I found yet another builder expanding on those tricks. This time the builder will list a property and the day it closes, it will withdraw the listing! Why? Because when a place is listed for $599,900 and closes for $529,000, they don’t want the public to know. Also the tax records (where I found the sale) does not allow for disclosure of the seller subsidies (the MLS does require it).
So not only are they hiding a $70,000 price drop, the seller subsidy could range from $5k to $25k. By hiding this data, the appraisals can be kept up for future closings! Sounds to me like fraud, but that is just my opinion.
Speaking of appraisals, if you are buying a new construction and using their “preferred lender,” I have heard of multiple situations where the builder is applying pressure on the lender to “get it done,” which is code for “fudge the appraisal so the numbers work.”
And that is code for JAILTIME. That is FRAUD.
If you suspect something fishy is going on, pay the extra $200-400 and get your own independent appraisal (without mentioning what the lender’s appraiser came up with). If they come in over $15,000 different, somebody got some explaining to do (insert Ricky Ricardo voice).
After the independent appraiser’s report is complete, ask him to look at your lender’s appraisal report. If he says it appears fraudulent, report it to the FBI. Yes the FBI is very interested in hearing about fraudulent lender practices.
Now one last word about lenders. I don’t want you to think that they are all crooks, or even that some are. But you have to understand the phrase “fiduciary duty.” That is defined as “The legal responsibility for investing money or acting wisely on behalf of another.” Agents have that duty with their clients… but lenders don’t.
Again, lenders, albeit nice, helpful etc etc, they do NOT have a fiduciary duty to look after your best interest. Their duty is to their employer. So know your rights, get that second appraisal and don’t get bullied into a fraudulent loan.
Lenders, I hope you didn’t find that offensive. Appraisers, what do you think about faulty appraisals and how do you suggest handling it? Do you ask the appraiser that is “off” if he really wants his appraisal reviewed by the state board (or who else would you recommend?)
Best of luck,
– Written by Frank Borges LL0SA- Broker FranklyRealty.com (Now paying $1 per typo)
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