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Do you search Building permits?

Discussion in 'General Appraisal Discussion' started by Dan/Fla, Apr 8, 2008.

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  1. Dan/Fla

    Dan/Fla Member

    0
    Jan 15, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    I have made it a habit to search Building permits especially when I hear a rehab. When I see or hear than renovation to bath/kitchen or add a room I search to see is permits were pulled and all inspection were made. When they are not I make a comment like extraordinary assumption is made that all work noted above was in fact done legally and all permits and inspections were in fact made, and even though appraiser could not fine these permits, appraiser assumes that this was just an over site or clerical error, and all work preformed shall have no legal and or financial ill effects on present or future owners. However if it is later found that work was not preformed with required permits or work was not preformed to code. The value given in this report is null and void.

    My question is do you have a better not as wordy comment you use? But still cover your A--
     
  2. Restrain

    Restrain Elite Member

    11
    Jan 22, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    Not part of the job description. I ask and comment. I am not going to every city hall and ask about building permits for evey property. Not my job. If the lender is concerned, they can do the research. Haven't had a problem in almost 40 years.
     
  3. Don Clark

    Don Clark Elite Member

    7
    Jan 17, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Virginia
    Normal Course of Business

    I suggest you read Advisory Opinion 24...Normal Course of Business. I DO NOT search for permits. That is not my job as an appraiser. I also do not do surveys, home inspections, of flood mapping. Those are matters of a legal nature. I am not a lawyer, do not do title searches for chain of title.

    I am an appraiser. I have enough to do to do that job to the best of my abilities. Also, I do not wish to take on added liability that might be attached to doingb things that are outside the scope of doing an appraisal. Neither fannie Mae, VA or FHA requires or encourages such searches.
     
  4. RSW

    RSW Elite Member

    25
    Feb 18, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Tennessee
    It may give a red flag to a building permit office if an appraiser calls and asks if a builiding permit was applied for or issured on a specific property. This could be disclosing private information about the subject property. Do so only with the client's permission.
     
  5. Ultraviolet

    Ultraviolet Senior Member

    0
    Dec 31, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Retired Appraiser
    State:
    Arizona
    In my area building permit info is available online and it's very detailed. An itemized list of what's required by the city/county is available and as the inspections are completed the system is updated. The site and floor plans are actually imaged online - very helpful. It takes 30 seconds to type in the address or APN and if there's data I comment on it. If there isn't I state that I am unaware of any building permits and the client should take it from there if they are concerned.

    When this information is so readily available, that's normal course of business for me.

    Recent true incident: New home was never finaled by the county. Appraiser didn't check or comment; appraisal passed UW; loan was made and then defaulted in less than a year. Client was left with a half-a**ed house and took a $300,000 loss because a 30 second online search wasn't done. If a new house (or improvement that requires a permit) isn't finaled by the city/county it isn't a legal improvement - in MY AREA !!!!

    Just my experience ... :new_smile-l:
     
  6. Sid Pachter

    Sid Pachter Sophomore Member

    0
    Feb 26, 2008
    Professional Status:
    Banking/Mortgage Industry
    State:
    Florida
    I am a former appraiser/undwerwriter and in house reviewer for a due dilignece company. Lenders want to know if in the case of an addition or major renovation, if the municipality requires a permit, and that permits were applied for and that inpsections were made and that the permit was closed/finalized. This can be done by simply 1)asking the owner to view the finalized permit or 2) call the local building department and ask for confirmation. In the appraisal report the appraiser would then disclose the permit number and date the report was finalized, if verification is made via phone conversation the phone number and name of the person verifying the data needs to be provided. In instances where a field appraiser does not do this, I make the call and report the findings. Making an extraordinary assumption that permits were ascertained and that all inspections were made is not acceptable in my opinion. None of my clients (instutional lenders) will accept a property as collateral with a non permitted addition. Taking the time to check on permits only serves to enhance the quality and thoroughness of the appraisal report.
     
  7. LA Woman

    LA Woman Member

    0
    Jul 18, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Any Online Building Permits for LA county?

    Speaking of finding Building Permits online, does anyone know if Los Angeles, Ventura or Kern County have them?
     
  8. Terrel L. Shields

    Terrel L. Shields Elite Member
    Gold Supporting Member

    245
    May 2, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    State:
    Arkansas
    That seems reasonable, on the other hand, I would rather caveat that responsibility away rather than take it on. Why? Because if you do the search and MISS then you can have a problem.

    A Termite guy told me this. He was always HAPPY to find termites. His liability goes away. It's when he inspects and finds no termites that he is exposed to liability because what happens if they really are there and he just missed 'em?
     
  9. Wendy

    Wendy Senior Member

    0
    Feb 23, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    Verifying permits is a slippery slope. Like Terrel said - what if you miss one?

    My SOW says that permits are not verified.

    Major additions/changes are pretty easy to spot. Not so easy to spot is the behind the scenes re-wiring and plumbing. You want to be responsible for that?

    In my book, if you verify one permit you have taken responsibility for verifying every improvement on that site. No thanks.
     
  10. Jimmy L Kim

    Jimmy L Kim New Member

    0
    Oct 23, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Ventura and Kern counties are out of my coverage area but Los Angeles Department of Building Safety has a website(ladbs.org) to check for permits. From my experience, most of the permits available online are generally go back 10 to 15 years. They generally don't seem to have anything older available online and it only pertains to city zoned properties, not county zoned.
     
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