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Hole in the ground

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Blue1

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
3x3 "hole" in the patio with a built-in ladder that descendes into a 12 x 12 concrete room below ground. Once built as a fallout shelter but now just a concrete "tomb" with several inches of water on the floor. Question: Should I recommend a secure door over the hole? (Hole is approx. 8' deep) or should I make the appraisal "subject to" the placement of a secure trap door?

P.S. I'm giving it no value for purposes of the appraisal.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

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Gold Supporting Member
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Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Sounds like a safety issue to me. I would make it subject to.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Storm shelters require a cover or a door for safety issues. So, this hole in the ground probably does too.
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
I'm giving it no value for purposes of the appraisal.

Is there need for such a room? Is there safe access? Is the water in there stagnant? Here in Oklahoma such a room would be used for tornados....what do you use them for there? If it has a function, then you might consider valuing it similar to a basement. If it has no value and the water is stagnant to the point of it being a health issue, filling it in might be the best option.....and reducing the value accordingly. Simpy putting a door on it might not alleviate any peril....particulary with kids around.
 

Blue1

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
This is a real live fallout shelter. There are protected air vents coming up through the patio with metal "bell" type coveres to protect from radiation fallout. There is a water storage vessell down there that looks to be in bad shape and there is a sump pump to pump water out. I suppose one could use it for a wine cellar now but there is basically no use for it in this area. Unless, of course, there is a nuclear attack but then, that would affect the market in ways we cannot predict anyway.

That being said, if anyone inadvertantely fell into the hole they'd be hurtin' pretty bad. That's why I am recommending that a locking door be placed on top. I have an old newspaper article on the shelter and in it they mention an elaborate, steel trap door that used to be there which is now missing. Without that door, it's just a cement hole in the ground because there would be no radiation protection anyway.

There are no other homes in the area I know of with a similar underground structure. Therefore, there is no way to assign market value to it so, I am giving it no value and considering it a safety hazard until a locking door is placed on top.

Thanks to all for your input........
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
My choice would be not to make it "Subject to".

Unless you are doing an FHA, VA or RD, I would only mention the lack of cover, apply the cost to cure (attaching a door or appropriate cover) and leave it at that. Unless you have specific instructions from the lender as to requiring repairs, I would not make it "Subject to". If the LTV ratio is 50%, I suspect the safety point is moot.

My policy is that unless I have specific instructions from the client regarding repairs or minimum standards (insulation, etc. such as from FHA, VA or RD), I never make a report "Subject to" due to lack of repairs or such items. Doing so is beyond the Scope of the Appraisal. As was mentioned above, the cost to cure any needed repairs, deferred maintenance or obvious lacking or inoperable utilities is noted and adjusted for in the cost approach and sales grid which then leads to reflection in value. But an "As is" value.

To loan on it or not is an UW decision. Let them tell the borrower that he has to paint the house or add insulation. Without specific instructions from the client, making those kinds of decisions is not part of the appraisal process.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

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Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Richard, I would make it subject to for the following reason. If a year or two down the line a kid as to fall into this "pit" guess who is going to be sued. The home owner, the lender, and the appraiser. Like it or not...this is a safety issue and therefore we have liability.
 

George W Dodd

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
Richard,

I've been told sometime during the years that HUD oversees both Fannie and Freddie and that buired somewhere in all the paperwork is a condition that all properties are suppose to conform to minimum HUD property standards. So, if this is the case (which I think is true) then these type of "repairs" or subject to items would be part of the appraisal process.
 

Verne Hebert

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Montana
I'd value it "as-is". ..........................................................and require the repair as a FNMA safety compliance issue....and require the reinspection to assure it is complete and satisfactory.
 

Randy Beigh

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
My first requirment is 'first I protect me" and that is before anything else.

With that said, if this thing is a safety hazard that someone could get hurt in, then take a photo and require it to be remedied.

Richards idea of not requiring things is correct for most situations, but safety issues are in there own world. Further, the lender is not going to want to be held accountable for this thing either. So, by making it subject to, you are protecting the lender, which is part of your job.

Good luck
 
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