The Center for Public Integrity:
In 2004, years before plummeting real estate values turned Fort Myers, Florida, into a top five foreclosure capital, appraiser Mike Tipton faced a dilemma.
Tipton's employer, eAppraiseIT, sent him to value a two-bedroom home in a new subdivision built by the developer D.R. Horton. Paperwork given by the appraisal management company to Tipton included a $245,000 estimated value.
But after inspecting the home and comparing it to five similar houses that had recently sold, Tipton set the value at $237,000, $8,000 less than the estimate. He knew the difference might disappoint DHI Mortgage, the prospective buyer's lender, which is a subsidiary of developer D.R. Horton. And indeed it did.
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