Bank claims appraiser inflated home estimate

First Collinsville Bank is suing an Alton real estate appraiser for allegedly over-estimating the value of an Edwardsville property.

The suit filed Dec. 26 in Madison County Circuit Court names Joseph P. Pope, doing business as Pope Appraisals, as defendant.

FCB, which was required to reimburse Fannie May $218,683 under a loan guaranty due to a default, alleges Pope improperly valued the property at 66 Sunset Hills Dr.  on Jan. 9, 2009, at $573,000.

The five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 4,832-square-foot home sold for $200,000, on April 26, 2012 and for $272,000 on May 11, 2011,  according to realtor.com.

As a result of Pope’s appraisal, FCB issued a Fannie Mae guaranteed mortgage on April 8, 2009, for $415,000. The loan went into default January 2010, according to the lawsuit.

On March 29, 2012, Fannie Mae conducted a loan review, determining Pope’s 2009 appraisal did not support a $573,000 estimate, the suit says.

The suit claims that Pope’s Jan. 9, 2009 appraisal represented the property as being built in 2000 with an age of eight years, when the property actually was built in 1988 with an age of 21 years.

Pope is accused of failing to perform and complete the appraisal pursuant to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

FCB claims Pope selected comparable sales from neighborhoods with higher value and homes of younger actual age, higher quality and architectural detail than the subject property, according to the lawsuit.

The bank also is accusing Pope of making adjustments to the alleged comparable sales to be inconsistent, unsupported and unexplained. It claims Pope improperly identified and relied on unsold listings in his appraisal.

The bank also says Pope failed to use as a comparable sale the sale of a residential property on the same street and neighborhood as the subject property.

FCB seeks $218,683 from Pope, plus attorneys fees and the cost of the lawsuit.

B. Jay Dowling of the law offices of Sterling and Dowling in Fairview Heights represents the plaintiff. The case is assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian.

Madison County case number 12-L-2084.

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