Phoenix, Arizona

We tried to refinance our home mortgage with Wells Fargo and were advised our closing costs would be approximately $2300 and additionally there would be an appraisal fee in the amount of $385.00 which we agreed to pay. Our loan documents arrived indicating a much higher closing fee of over $4000.00 dollars.

We indicated to our loan advisor we didn't feel comfortable and would not sign any documents until all the paperwork was revised to indicate the correct amount. She was very convincing and promised us that at closing the correct amount would be on the closing docs and suggested to proceed with the appraisal that needed to be paid upfront. The appraisal was ordered even though we didn't sign any of the loan docs. After the appraisal was done we received another Fedex envelope indicating a revised appraisal fee of $510 not $385 as agreed.

After some research and complaints we learned that the company used for their appraisals (RELS Valuation) is owned by Wells Fargo. They have done the same scam to many other customers. We decided not to refinance with WELLS FARGO as they are NOT a trustworthy/ethical business. We even tried to talk to the manager of this employee and even left several voicemails to no avail.

At the end we lost $385 (appraisal fee) and much valuable time. I'm sure they have made millions with their appraisals scams.

Even though the refinance didn't happen they still made money from us. Please don't make the same mistake we made and engage in any type of refinancing business with WELLS FARGO.

Product or Service Mentioned: Wells Fargo Refinance.

Monetary Loss: $385.

  • Confidence trick
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Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and RELS Valuation are Stealing Your Money!

• RELS Valuation is owned by Wells Fargo [RELS LLC (the “Company”) is primarily engaged in the business of providing customers with property appraisal and credit reporting services. The Company does business as RELS Credit, RELS Valuation and Valuation Ventures. The Company is owned 50.1% by CoreLogic, Inc. and 49.9% by Wells Fargo & Co].

• Any time a mortgage finance transaction is initiated with Wells Fargo, a purchase or refinance for example, RELS Valuation is responsible for assigning and delivering the appraisal to its parent company, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Here are some interesting points, or “fun facts” I hope readers will consider when determining if they would like Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. as their home loan provider…

• RELS Valuation is turning a very tidy profit! You may find this independent audit of their financial statements of interest,

• Wells Fargo charges home loan applicants an “Appraisal Fee”, appraisal fees vary from state to state, county to county. However, no matter where a borrower is located (Wells Fargo is a National Bank, and the largest mortgage lender in the United States) RELS Valuation takes anywhere between 45%-55% of the “Appraisal Fee”. I am a State Licensed appraiser and have seen firsthand the Fee-Splits RELS Valuation offers to appraisers. [I do not typically take work from RELS Valuation as I do not feel I can perform my necessary Due Diligence, for such a paltry sum. I also find it inconceivable that an appraiser regularly taking work from Wells Fargo, via RELS, is able perform their required Scope of Work and Due Diligence necessary to obtain credible appraisal results, i.e., credible opinions of value.] Also of interest, as the volume of home loans decreases and the demand for appraisal products lessens, RELS Valuation increases its margin of the “Appraisal Fee”.

• RELS Valuation typically hires “newly licensed”, often “inexperienced”, appraisers willing to work for less money. Of course there are exceptions, but as a whole the RELS appraiser panel, including both Staff and Fee appraisers, have not been in the Appraisal Profession that long (and if they have, I will opine that they are “fast and sloppy”, and do not behoove Wells Fargo home loan applicant’s best interests). It does not take an astrophysicist to discern that when a borrower engages in a Mortgage Finance Transaction, with Wells Fargo as their lender, it is highly probable that said borrower will have an incompetent appraiser estimate the value of their home. For most people in the United States, their “home”, house, is their largest and most significant financial investment. Why on Earth would anyone knowingly borrow money from a bank, likely for a loan on their most valuable asset, and have a bank knowingly hire an incompetent appraiser?

• Homeowners and homebuyers need to be aware that the RELS Valuation / Wells Fargo relationship is one that ONLY benefits Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., and . For lack of a better word, the RELS-Wells relationship could accurately be described as a SKIM.

• I’ve spoken with many of the employees who work within the RELS Valuation office. Their office is located in Minnesota. I asked the phone operator what their offices were like and to please describe the RELS work environment. The phone operator enthusiastically stated, “ohh, we have a wonderful facility, a high-rise building with ten floors, tastefully decorated, and located in the heart of our city”. As an appraiser, this desk jockey’s enthusiasm was a tad bit off-putting b/c appraisers are the ones paying for such “luxurious” office space.

•The secondary mortgage market, GSEs, and Private Investors should be very concerned with home loans initiated via Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Why? The reason being is these home loans are likely made with poor appraisals, i.e., based on the opinion of value from newly licensed, incompetent, or appraisers willing to work for “peanuts”.

• Prospective borrowers should not consider Wells Fargo Bank N.A. for the mortgage finance needs. I suggest a local lender, smaller or regional banks, or credit unions –lenders like these often know their local market, know and hire qualified professionals within their market, still offer competitive rates, et. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as the Nation’s largest lender, has successfully created a “Skim”, a “cottage industry” as a result of Dodd-Frank, and betray trusting loan applicant’s good faith with false promises like, “due to our size we are able to pass our bank’s savings on to our customers”.

• Wells Fargo Bank N.A. has created a new “House of Cards”. Just wait until we have another market correction! All of the Wells Fargo Bank N.A. paperwork, via RELS Valuation, will reveal itself as boilerplate, fast and sloppy, unprofessional, inferior, negligent opinions of value to the tune of billions of dollars.

• One last link for any interested party who has humored my editorial and read to this point…

Someone was on the right track with respect to the lawsuit noted in the above link –FYI, I am of no relation to anyone involved in the lawsuit cited. I am just a lowly appraiser. Like most of you I feel I am overworked and underpaid. Some clients do pay appraisers fairly, Wells Fargo Bank N.A. / RELS Valuation does NOT! For your own benefit if you are a prospective mortgagor, I hope you think twice before considering Wells Fargo Bank N.A. for your home loan needs!

Please stay-tuned for my next piece, “Bank of America loves LandSafe”.


:) I think they are running it for BBB and the top employees are related and not to be trusted.


I used to bank with Wells-Fargo. I shed myself of them several years ago and have saved a lot of money in a small local bank that doesn't keep charging those niggling little fees all the time. A credit union would be even better.