I’ve been trying to get a USAA Line of Credit to consolidate some outstanding debt and to buy a new mini-van. I figured that my house, which zillow.com shows is worth $560,000, would allow me to tap into this equity. I filled out the application on USAA’s website and after some back and forth calls with the processor I’m told that the real estate appraiser has appraised my house at $330,000! It doesn’t matter that houses in my area are selling for nothing less than about $400,000 and that those houses are about 1/3 smaller than my house. It doesn’t matter that I’m sitting on 1/2 acre of land and the other smaller houses are sitting on about 1/4 acre of land. None of that matters. The appraiser claims that I only have a 1700 sq. ft. house with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths.

I went to the county website and pulled up my taxation and assessment record and it shows that I have 2754 sq. ft. of livable space (which doesn’t include the unfinished basement!). I found the original listing for the house back in 2002 when I bought it showing that it has 4 levels (it’s a split-level) with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. I made all of that information available to this moron of an appraiser and he still claims that a) I only have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and b) I only have 1700 sq. ft. of livable space. He claims that the other 1000 sq. ft. are “below grade” and therefore not part of the appraised value of the house. Hello!???? I live on a HILL!!! The lower level is only partly (about 30%) below grade and is VERY much livable space with a bedroom and a bath! If I only have 1700 sq. ft. then why is Montgomery County taxing me on 2754 sq. ft. If I only have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (he’s wrong here as well as I’ve got 4 bedrooms in the upstairs level) then perhaps this idiot should come here and clean my “non-existent” bedroom and bath for me! Or perhaps he can get the county to lower my taxes since 1000 sq. ft. of my home is “not livable” according to his opinion and therefore not part of the value of my house.

The real estate appraisers were willing to appraise any shack at high valuation levels in order to get the loan through. They were willing to help “grease the wheels” of the housing crisis by doing whatever they could to get the loan through and now they’re malpractice has come to fruition. Now they refuse to appraise anything to it’s true value and are willing to screw people — people with good credit like me — in order to “make things right” in their mind. This delinquent appraiser is an idiot and USAA has just lost my business on this loan — and perhaps ALL of my other business as well.