Class Harlan
Real estate fraud

I bought this house from Meg Roth, real estate agent with Class Harlan Realtors in Doylerstown, Pa. in February, 2007 for $484k. Ms Roth was both the owner of the home and the real estate agent selling the house. Although I overpaid for the home, I was desperate for a house at the time and I bought the house in large part for the size which the owner/agent indicated as 3100 sq ft.  That number appeared on the MLS listing used to market the house.

In October of 2012, I contacted Ms Roth to help me sell my home. She again used that same number when she listed my house for sale in October, 2012 as my selling agent. As she was both the homeowner at one time and real estate agent on two occasions, I had no reason to doubt the number she provided on both occasions as being authentic.
In the past month, I have tried to refinance my house. The Wells Fargo appraiser now says that the house is only 2614 sq ft, significantly less than the numbers provided previously in 2006-2007 and 2012. Based on this number, the appraiser provided an appraised value of only $350k. This was extremely shocking to me. 
I recently reviewed appraisals that were done when I bought the house and when I refinanced again in 2010.  I had not fully reviewed these documents previously as they were, to my mind perfunctory, necessary paperwork to buy my house and to refinance it. I was amazed to see that the 2006 appraisal only shows 2787 sq ft while the 2009-2010 refi appraisal shows only 2832 sq ft. The 2001 appraisal I requested that Ms Roth send to me on April 1, 2013, only shows 2834 sq ft, a number consistent with the 2010 appraisal. Ms Roth indicated to me in her April 1 email that this figure does not include the 4th floor living space. This appears to be inaccurate as the appraisal shows that the appraisal includes the space for 8 rooms, 2.5 baths which accounts for all the space in the house plus, the map of the house Ms Roth attached also shows the 4th floor was indeed accounted for in the space calculations. This represents another attempt to deceive me and to cover for her obvious fraudulent assertions of space.
Here is my concern.
I have now looked at several appraisals for my house. I have not seen any document that shows there is more than 2834 sq ft. in this house. I bought this house on good faith that it was indeed a house of that size, and even though I overpaid for it and knew I would have to invest considerable dollars to make it livable, I was willing to do so knowing a house of this size (3100 sq. ft.) would retain value particularly with the enhancements (over $60k to date) I was making. Considering the purchase price and the improvement I have made, the number comes to around 530k. Again, I bought this house under the assumption Ms Roth,both the owner and sales agent, was representing the home accurately.
As a result of the sq footage being inaccurate, I am now facing financial hardship. The first impact was on my refinancing. Based on the sq footage from the Wells Fargo appraiser and the limited comparisons he used, he says my home is worth only 350k as of March, 2013, even though it was valued at $500k in late 2009 and the housing market is improving this year. Based on these numbers, I cannot refinance my principle and home equity loan amount at a very favorable rate. I can only do the principle and I must now pay 3/4 of a point to do so, or around $2,000, when this was a 0% mortgage previously when I had assumed a home value of at least 400k. 
The biggest impact will be when I try to sell my home. If I must use the 2614 sq ft number, this will have a huge impact on what I will be able to obtain for my home. I am looking at a considerable loss in value that I may never recoup.
In view of all the evidence I am looking at, I am at a loss as to how the 3100 sq ft figure could have ever been used by a real estate professional to market my house. I am of the opinion the agent committed fraud in the sale of this home in 2007 in an attempt to gain more profit for herself. She knowingly exaggerated the size of her property so as to artificially increase the sale value of the home. I have written to the agent and Class Harlan Real Estate on several occasions and they have not provided an explanation or apology in regard to their actions. Their response has bolstered by belief that this is not the first time they have been accused of such actions. I feel the customers and potential customers of this business need to be informed of such fraudulent business practices and they should be investigated for similar acts in the past.

Offender: Class Harlan
Country: USA   State: Pennsylvania   City: Doylestown

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