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Disclose or not to disclose?

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Jeff Horton

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
I am always the first to say disclose disclose disclose. But I have one that i am not sure if I should mention or not. Home is built a slightly sloping lot. Just a slight grade. Nice nome, no problems. When I looked in the crawl space I see a vapor barrier as expected.

However this is the best installed vapor barrier I have ever seen. Its black plastic but it runs up the wall 1 foot or so and is the held in place by 1x4's nailed to the blocks. The edges of the VB are glued the blocks around the doorway. Normally they just lay on the ground have usually have big gaps in the too.

There is no signs of any water problems but I have never seen such a well installed VB. As a home inspector I would be looking close for signs of water running under the house. But as an Appraiser I am not sure if I should mention this or not. There is nothing to disclose other than my suspicions there MIGHT have been a water problem at some time. I alerted the Loan Officer to pass this on the client. (Its a freind of his) Would you mention it or not?

I dont want to stir up anything thing by mentioning it. Previous owner could have been a perfectionist!
 

Wally Jones

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Jeff,

Seems like every time I try to analyze a situation that isn't obvious, I get myself in trouble. Maybe this is one you should simply report "just the facts, ma'am". If you really feel strongly about it, emphasize the importance of a home inspection.

Just my .01 cent (can't afford .02 cents 'til the market returns). 8)
 

Jeff Horton

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Thats sort of my feelings. There is really nothing to disclose. Just a suspision or something. Fact is there are not facts or indications. I am leaning toward saying nothing too.
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
I assume you have the photos of the vapor barrier in you file somewhere. That's your CYA. The fact that the vapor barrier was properly installed by a craftsman who took pride in their work should not be construed as meaning it was necessary remediation for past problems. There either is evidence of current or prior damage in the way of existing deficiencies or there isn't. If you can't see anything you can't see anything. If you are really worried about it, make a comment that you aren't qualified to render an opinion on the stability of the foundation, and if the reader desires it, they can seek a qualified opinion from an engineer. Let them take the responsibility of deciding how paranoid they are.


George Hatch
 

Jeff Horton

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Thanks George. I changed my mind and decided to just mention it and let them worry about it. Better to disclose than not to disclose.

Decided to follow my own advice for once! :D
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Jeff --

WHAT are you going to disclose? You have to tip your hand with a motive, otherwise the disclosure looks like plain old CYA and arouses its own suspicions -- much like the addenda'd-to-death appraisal that the UW complains about just because she's not willing to wade through it and knows there's something covert in there somehwere.

Are you going to disclose the fact that it's the best installed vapor barrier you've every seen? Or the fact that it's black? Or the VB is probably hiding an undetermined something? Or are you afraid the HO did it himself?

My recommendation is that you observe the site and landscape very, very carefully. As you know, water runs downhill only. So, if there's no evidence of water running into the crawl space on the high side AND none running out of the foundation on the low side, what water source are you concerned about. The only other possibility would be a spring inside the foundation, therefore expand your observation to perhaps 20 feet outside on the 3 sides and maybe to 50-150 feet on the low side to see if there's an open ditch or some other channel of drainage that would lead you back to the crawl space. I'm a lifelong DIYer.

Just a little reinforcing for you in case you are still considering what to do. Good luck.
 

Jeff Horton

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
The house is on a slight slope and water run off could very well be running under the house. That is why this vapor barrier made me suspicious. It's the home inspector side of me I guess but if someone went to that much trouble there must be a reason for it. I suspect there was a problem. This may have fixed the problem, no way from me to know. But if there is a problem that shows up latter I would rather have mentioned it in my report than to have ignored it.

How can I go wrong by stating what I saw out of the ordinary? Sure it might raiser some eybrows with the underwritter but again if there is a problem that shows up latter I would rather have mentioned it in my report than to have ignored it.

"Cawl space vapor barrier is black plastic and runs up the wall approx. 1 foot and is the held in place by 1x4's nailed to the blocks. The edges of the VB are glued the blocks around the doorway. No other unusual conditions were noted in the crawl space."
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
I’m only helping ask questions. Reinforcing your thought process --

Is what you saw out of the ordinary? And do you want to convey that what you saw is unusual? Or is it just another way of doing an ordinary thing … (like standard insulation vapor barrier is 6-10 mil poly and 10% opaque).

Sometimes I’ve gotten carried away on a home project myself. Did you ask the HO how this came about. There may be a perfect reason.

By suggesting you look carefully at the site grade in your home-inspector mode could tell you where water would go if it is present or has been present. And, like you indicated, the problem may have been remedied.

Hey, the purpose of vapor barrier is to keep moisture from transferring.
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
As an appraiser we are obligated to report what we see, hear, feel (touch type), taste, and smell. We can draw conclusions from these empirical observations.

We do not report what we feel (emotion type) or imagine. We do not form suppositions based on these fantasies.

Like Joe Friday used to say "Just the facts ma’am".

I would not worry about this because if you are a trained inspector and you did not smell moisture or see evidence of moisture, what you most likely have is a homeowner who in a prior house had a moisture problem and decided when this one was built that he would never have another.

Let it lie and just consider it a job well done in moisture proofing.
 
B

Bemis Pownall

Guest
when I worked for a radon midigation company that is pretty much the way we did crawl spaces! Glued the VB to the cement wall!
In colorado people worry about Radon..
 
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