On the House | Is that home appraisal honest?

July 24, 2005 | Philadelphia Inquirer |

"Appraisal fraud is part of a bigger, more ominous picture," said David Callahan, research director at Demos, a nonpartisan public-policy group in New York. "As home prices have continued to increase above inflation, even nearing 20 percent per year in some cities, American homeowners are vulnerable as never before to financial ruin if home prices fall to their natural market value.

Is that house you're buying really worth what you're paying for it? Or was the appraiser pressured by the lender to boost the price, so that you're borrowing more than the property is worth?