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Crawl Space Inspections

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Pam Wyant

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
West Virginia
Well the ladder topic went well, so here is a new one.

Occassionally I see a crawl space where the home has had an addition. You can stick head & shoulders in & see the one area fine. But, there is another foundation wall for the original house, say maybe 12-15 feet away, with another crawl space entry hole.

So, how would you handle this? - okay it because you stuck "head and shoulders" in, crawl through the dirt to the second entry & stick head & shoulders in, or call for inspection by a qualified party to insure no dampness, settlement, etc.

Opinions anyone?
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Taken a photo (maybe) and disclose what you see. Let FHA make that call.

I am a home inspector and regularly crawl crawl spaces. But as an Appraiser I do not crawl them! Head and shoulders entry only. If it is tall enough to stand upright in or stooped over I "might" if something caught my eye but only then.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Have Ben come over and crawl through it for you...he seems to enjoy that sort of thing.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Not really Mike,

It's a requirement.

If an appraiser believes that physical inability to perfrom the job correctly is an excuse, they're wrong. They state under USPAP that they're competent to perform the job/supplemental requirements. If they can't...they retire from FHA appraising or they take the chance and go on until they're caught for missing something/USPAP violations.

It's their choice.

Ben
 

larryhaskell

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
Ben:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, couldn't you refer the reader to the pest inspection report since they are required for FHA and the pest inspector does have to crawl into the twilight zone.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Crawl space inspection is for far more than pests.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Larry

The reasons that we have this silly new VC Sheet is..well I remember two FHA problem homes that started the whole thing. Attic and crawl space inspections have always been required by HUD but...

1) The attic inspection--head and shoulders inspection---there was fire damage in the attic of a house in New York which the appraiser missed and then everyone was ******. So we now do head and shoulders mandatory.

2) The famous NJ house in Salem county that had a bad roof, bad foundation, bad plumbing and floor joists that were not situated on the girder, etc---didn't you ever wonder about VC 8F?? How about VC 7G,H&I? They are strange requirements and are only satisfied by a visual inspection..the pest inspector isn't looking for these items so FHA wants more than what he's capable of providing.

Here's the deal. The appraiser gets caught on a field review or a repo and there's damage in the crawl space or attic. You're held accountable for what is readily observable. Do you say, I stuck a camera up there, I didn't have a ladder or I couldn't physically complete the inspection because I'm allergic to dust/whatever ? Nope. You say I put my head and shoulders in there and I could not readily observe from the opening the damage that you're questionning/saying I missed.

You've met the HUD requirement of head and shoulders. Anything else and you're going down in flames at a state board inquiry...however, you'll probably be off the HUD panel before you get to the state inquiry level. It's in the manual and if the appraiser chooses to ignore it...oh well.

Now lot's of you think I'm silly about this....but Frank G. has been known to leave signed business cards in the attic as evidence that he was up there.....

Ben
 

Mike Simpson

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2002
I've always had a problem with being told a "head & shoulders inspection" is all that's required while simultaneously being held accountable If I can't see everything from the crawl space access.

Before you get rolling here, let me just say I've installed miles of insulation in crawl spaces and you can't see diddly from the access even with the strongest flash lights--I've got a Nightraker w/500,000 candlepower (it'll knock planes out of the air!). If there's insulation in the joist--you can see even less! Only a thorough inspection of the crawl will reveal what's happening in the furthest recesses...

...and head & shoulders inspection of the attic??? FHA requires the appraiser to carry a 6' ladder--since most appraisers I know don't drive trucks--it better be a folding ladder. Still--I've run across accesses which required more than a 6' ladder. Moreover, a thorough inspection of the attic cannot be properly conducted from the access (I've installed tons of blown-in insulation in attics as well--and the lighting & other prep took 45-60 minutes). If the inspector goes stomping through the attic then they run the risk of compressing the insulation and diminshing the 'R'-value.

Sometimes I feel they're just looking for a scapegoat should something go wrong!

-Mike
 
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