Disputing a Green Tree Appraisal

So as I’ve come to expect with Green Tree, nothing goes smoothly or as it should. As you may recall, I’m attempting to have the PMI removed from my Green Tree serviced mortgage — it’s been quite the process.

First, Green Tree denied my request right off the bat, then they said I could get my own appraisal (I saved the voicemail message since they refuse to put anything in writing). Then when I contacted them to find out who I send the appraisal to, I was told I couldn’t do that and they had to send their own guy out. Ironically, about 2 hours after that call with Green Tree, suddenly an appraiser hired by Green Tree calls to do the appraisal. Yep, the appraisal that they denied had been requested directly from Green Tree. Go figure.

But wait, it gets better. The appraisal comes is just low enough that Green Tree can deny the request to remove PMI again, because it’s above the 75% LTV (loan to value) for loan held 2 to 5 years.

Now here’s where the appraisal gets questionable. The appraisal uses a pending listing and an active listing in determining sales comps. A comp isn’t a comp until it’s sold and recorded. Pending and active listings don’t count. And the sold comps they use are rather far from my home and completely excluded 2 homes in my immediate neighborhood that are the same size as my house.

Now, it’s time to dispute appraisal with bad comps and the errors (and probably laziness or perhaps incompetence) of the appraiser. I tried to contact the appraiser directly, but he won’t return calls. I can’t help but think that Green Tree told the guy what they wanted the house to come in at — because he came in almost $100,000 less than neighboring homes. (Yes, it’s San Diego California — homes are expensive here.)

So how do you dispute an appraisal that Green Tree has done?

That’s an excellent question. Green Tree doesn’t have any official forms or information on how to dispute an appraisal they have ordered. I can’t imagine that I am the first person to disagree with an appraisal valuation, so this can’t be a new question for them. Yet Green Tree doesn’t have any guidance on this. I suspect it’s because they hope that their customers just give up and leave the PMI going which means more money for Green Tree.

Since Green Tree does not have a formal process to dispute the appraisal valuation, here’s what I’ve included in my letter:

  1. Summary of the errors, mistakes or incorrect comps utilized.
  2. Pulled other home sales comps that I feel are correct and valid. Unfortunately, this is really doing the work the appraiser should have done, so I’m doing the work for him AND I have to pay his fee.
  3. Pulled information from the Case-Shiller home price index to show that the increase in value that the appraiser indicated is not in line with what the San Diego region has experienced. Here is an example of the Excel file with a fake home valuation.

I am sure that they’ll try to find more ways to deny the PMI removal request, but it’s worth a shot. Next step, filing a complaint with the CFPB.