Appraisal House Blog

Collections and Small Claims Court
June 3rd, 2008 10:13 PM

Well, I have a court date in the morning - small claims court to collect an appraisal fee.  This is such a major hassle, and it could have been easily avoided. 
The client I did the work for has a deal with me.  I don't come after them for unpaid invoices, but they have a paper that each borrower signs that makes them aware that (a) they might not qualify for a mortgage, and (b) if for any reason their loan does not close, they agree to pay for the appraisal and any other inspections necessary (termite, home inspection, foundation, etc.). 
So this borrower signs the paper, I do the appraisal, have to do a final inspection because they told me the work was complete but they were missing the sink/toilet/shower/tub in one bathroom (among other things), and then decides he doesn't want to go through with it.  Okay, fine, here is the paper you signed, either cut me a check or call me to work out some payment arrangement.  Two months go by, with no response to several calls. 
Then I get a call from a different lender that wants an appraisal on the same property.  Okay, I can do that, and I know this lender pays me regardless, so I am willing to do it for them.  However, I call the borrower and tell them I am willing to give them a discount on the second appraisal if they will pay me for the first one, which they are happy to agree to.  They were short on cash and needed the refi to get their money back out of the house, so I was willing to work with them. 
So the new appraisal gets done, gets funded, and I send the old invoices to them.  And of course, as we all expected, never heard back.  
I send them a few letters, leave a few messages, and let them know that I have a signed agreement from them and I WILL collect this, especially since they lied to my face.  They refused the certified letter, but they got the summons from the local sheriff! 
So tomorrow I waste another 2-3 hours going to show a judge their signature on a paper, get a judgement for my back fees, court costs, and then likely spend more money to file a lien on their property.
I've wasted a ridiculous amount of time on this, but I can't get past the fact that they (a) signed a letter agreeing to pay, and (b) told me to my face they would do the right thing.  So no it has become an issue of principal.  I may not get any money out of them, but they won't sell their house until they pay up, and in this area I believe I am allowed to add interest to the balance, so my portion of their home just keeps going up in value.  And the sad thing about it is that I am pretty good with the people who don't have the money (I remember what it was like when I was in college and living hand to mouth and dreading a minor car repair or similar expense), and so I am really good about working out installments with people.  I have some that pay me $25/month, and as long as they make the effort I am fine with them. 
Anyway, I guess we will see what happens tomorrow!


QUESTION:  Is the fact that Tela Tequila got a second season on MTV a sign that the world is coming to an end?  And if not, should it be? 

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Lay (Austin Area) on June 3rd, 2008 10:13 PMPost a Comment

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