ATLANTA -- With home prices reported to be at their lowest levels since November 2002, homeowners are looking to appraisers for some good news on home values, so they can at least break even when it comes time to sell.
In Fulton County, not every appraiser and not every appraisal is meeting regulated standards. In South Atlanta's depressed housing market where foreclosure and distress sales are common, home appraisals become the benchmark for banks and homeowners and dictate tax rates and often selling prices.
In this highly regulated industry, the Georgia Real Estate Appraisers Board is lookingto revoke the license of one Fulton County appraiser for what they said was not following the standards or the rules when appraising homes at points between 2005 and 2008.
The Georgia Real Estate Commission says problem appraisers and bad appraisals could be more widespread than that.
"We are seeing more appraiser cases now because of the economy. It's coming to light that some of the appraisals are suspect. When prices are going up and real estate is active you don't have a problem and the cases do not come to light, but they really are now, and we now have 200 appraisal cases," said Georgia Real Estate Commissioner Bill Rogers. "Most of the appraisals I see are residential appraisals and are about 30% lower than the homeowner thinks they ought to be or what the lender thought they were."
If the appraisal is a tax appraisal, there is a process to formally appeal and ask for a re-appraisal. The homeowner shouldcontact the Fulton County Assessor's office. If it is an independent appraisal, homeowners cancontact the Georgia Real Estate Commission for guidance.