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Final Inspection and Landscaping

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Paul Burger

Freshman Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2002
How much weight would you give landscaping in the final inspection of a residential property. I did the proposed construction appraisal--upper level house in the country, on some acreage--for $300,000 +/-. Comes time for the final inspection, I go out there, and there's no landscaping of any kind. Just dirt. I mention that in the final inspection report, indicate that I had figured they'd spend $2,000 on landscaping (sod, shrubbery, etc.). I even say something to the effect of "in relation to the total value of the property, the lack of landscaping is a minor issue..." Turns into a big deal with the underwriter, and now everybody's mad at me. Now I wonder if I should have mentioned it at all. Anybody got an opinion on this?
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Yep,.....Out-think the underwriter and revise the original "subject to completion" appraisal report to reflect the market value with no landscaping as of the date of your initial inspection. Make a negatve adjustment on the form for lack of landscaping, if you feel the need to. So if they can live with $298, issue a clear 442 form. Guarantee they'll all be happy campers....unless the LTV ratio doesn't allow it based on your lower appraised value.

Now, if they can't comprehend that, revise the original appraisal report to "as-is" as of the date of your last inspection reflecting the lack of landscaping........

They're bugging-out because you valued something that's not there and the morons don't know how to hold an escrow and of course, it's your fault. The subject's property's condition is always the appraiser's fault. Never the owner's or the builder's. That's Mortgage Class 101. It seems they all go to that class.

Ben
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
Since we have basically 2 seasons up here (Snow and Sand), I don't worry much about landscaping. After all, it usually takes a year or so for the grass to grow and the bushes to fill out. Besides, when you have what I call the great equalizer on the ground (20 inches of snow) who can tell the difference between good and bad landscaping?

What I look for is the site cleaned up and the rough grading done. I'm happy with that because my report did not take any landscaping into consideration.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Ummm

How typical is it for a house of that age in that market segment to HAVE landscaping...

Did an appraisal of a 'corporately owned' (ERC) wherein ther place had other 'issues' but curb appeal was exactly zilch due to hardpan and clay with scrabby overseeding and msotly weeds on a substantial sized lake lot.

The Relo company finally popped for final grade and seeding, but due to minimal care the lawn was still scrappy...and by then it was two years old...

Finally sold at auction for a deep Deeeep discount.

Moral of the story:
IF landscaping is expected make sure your rear is covered by MARKET reaction, not cost to cure, as the variance betweent the two can be a bone chilling difference and potential 'full-market deal-killer'. 8O

Keep in mind the potential for a no longer *NEW* home with weeds by the yard: buyer perception may be 'no yard care, what did they DO to the house?!?!?! that we can't see udner the fresh paint.
 

TC

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
If landscaping was part of the plans/specs and not completed when you did the final, you should have a dollar amount placed in escrow until 100% completion. Happens all the time in my market and it gives we greedy appraisers more work by doing another final inspection. :lol:

TC
 

Tony Lehn

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Indiana
Same here TC.

On a final, I check to make sure that final grading and seeding has been done, or sod, depending on the plans and specs. If it isn't done, due to weather, I simply state on the final inspection form that all work has been completed, except for landscaping, due to weather. From there it gets escrowed. Unlike TC though, I never get a call to go and reinspect.

If there is still scrap and other potential dangerous stuff piled in a "builders garbage can" inthe fromt lawn, I would call for that to be removed as well. That has nothin gto do with the weather.
 

Willie

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Tennessee
You did OK. Don't worry about it. It either is or it ain't there. There is no in between. Not your stinking problem, period. You might suggest(as if your cotton pickin job is telling the underwriter how to do theirs) that they close the deal and escrow the difference or two times the difference, to ensure it gets done.

PS, I see you are a nebie. Regarding Mr. Goodpastures comment, he was not trying to be smart. If he really told you his opinion, it might get him banned. He will hold back here, but I'm sure if he had a stupid underwriter, LO he would tell them exactly how he sees it.
 

Ida S. Romo

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Paul,

TOOOOOOOOO BAAAAD, they are mad!!!!! It is your job!!!! If the contract with the builder included grading, seeding/sodding/landscaping etc., and your final did not include those items completed, it is customary to recommend a holdback. The lender generally increases the amount of your recommended $$ by 1 1/2. In some cases the lender will waive the holdback if the builder has a bond with the village, probably not in your case. YOU STAND YOUR GROUND, that is unless you want to pay for the unfinished landscaping yourself.

I had a case where the site was at rough grade at the final......The builder called and said "The poor buyers are loaded on a truck and have no place to go."......I said........move them in with you until the landscaping is complete.......Everyone was mad at me also......up until the builder buckeled......and 2 weeks later.....the buyer THANKED me for standing my ground.......It seems that other homeowners within the subdivision had been in their homes for 8 months or more and still had no landscaping.........I pitty the poor appraisers who completed "those" finals!!!

Ida
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
If landscaping was part of the plans/specs and not completed when you did the final, you should have a dollar amount placed in escrow until 100% completion.

I'd want to be real careful there:

I might provide an underwriter an estimated cost to cure, but I am not going to tell or reccomend or anything with regard to what the UNDERWRITER (not I) want to do about 'unfinished business.

Because: I stand by my above comment! IF the incomplete work is going to have a substantial negative effect on value I am probably going to mention the fact that leaving it incomplete may have an adverse effect on value that may exceed the cost to cure. I wouldn't want to try explaining a few years dwonline why something 'costs' more to fix than the original estimate, and how La Lender lost money thereby.


Real life example: Unpainted T1-11 siding exposed to the elements for a couple years. Loud lender squeals, and shrugs on my part: they were warned. :twisted:

In any case not YOUR problem.
 
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