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Insulation

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Mike Seward

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
I doing an FHA appraisal on a 12 year old house, I marked "unknown" in the insulation section.
The underwriter said that was unacceptable and that I must put down what the insulation was in each part of the house.
If the underwriter is correct, how would I be able to determine that?
Thanks,
Mike in Tampa
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
You have to at least look in the attic if it's at all accessable. If there is a scuttle or drop stairs, it's relatively easy. If you cannot access the attic, you'll need to state that with the reason. Same with the crawl space if it's not on a slab. Make sure the crawl space has at least 18 x 24 inches opening and is at least 18 in height. Take a picture and if there is insulation, just state that it appears adequate (if it does) and that you are not qualified to determine the R Factor.

The walls are a different story and the underwriter is wrong about that part of the house. Just write that you cannot determine the wall insulation without tearing out a wall. A qualified contractor would be necessary to do this and to make the repairs caused by the verification process.

Make sure you start your addendum with: On January 25, 2002 the underwiter requested .........

Be very specific regarding the request. This makes the pain of writing it up more FUN! :twisted:

From now on, after you verify the insulation in the attic and if you truly believe there is insulation in the walls, just put in *Adeq and in that nice larger blank field at the bottom of the insulation section put in *R Factor Unknown. If there is a crawl space, put *Adeq in the 'floor' field and if it's on a slab, put in N/A.

It's all in explaining yourself. They don't like Unknown, especially in the insulation area on an FHA and it's doubly bad if the underwriter is a yankee. :lol:

Oh, wait a minute..... I'm a dam* yankee caused I stayed in Florida instead of just visiting! 8O
 

Atlanta CG

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Careful with that "Yankee" stuff :p For wall insulation, just take off a light or outlet cover & see if any insulation is around it. That at least tells you there is some or none.
John (a former proud Yankee) from Atlanta
 

bradellis

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Folks,

Go back to the program and underline, "readily observable".

You ARE supposed to gain access to the attic and crawl absent unusual circumstances that would prevent same. No- not having a ladder with you is not an acceptable excuse.

As to insulation in the walls, it can be there but not be observable even if you take off a switch cover.

If you belive it to be there but you cannot see it, note this and use "concealed" or abbreviate it as "Cncld.", or some other abbreviation.

Note in your FHA appraisal that is was not redily observable and that you do not do invasive procedures to determine this.

Brad
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
I also use the 'Cncld' abbreviation next to the 'walls' and 'floor'(as in finished basement areas) when unable to observe directly, I also use 'assumed average for age' in the last two pews of the subject insualtion data area.

Take a picture or two of the attic, and one or two of the crawl if any, to PROVE that you did in fact 'inspect' as per FHA requirements.

I ahve never had a lender or HUD question the above!
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
I agree with comments of Lee Ann and Bradellis, "readily observable" is the key, plus I have never had a UW question me on this. You probably have a newbie UW that hasn't been trained (so what's new), the only "training" they have received is to "ask at least one question per report".
 

Brad Pack

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
California
To all,

The word "unknown" can and is to be used when applicable. If the R-factor is unobtainable, enter the depth of the insulation (e.g. 6"). Do NOT guess or assume as to the wall insulation!

Brad Pack

The following is from the 4150.2 (Protocal):

Insulation
If access is available, the appraiser must inspect the
following components and note the observations. Note all
irregularities in the type or presence of insulation in the
Comments section .

Field Protocol

Roof o Make every effort to determine if insulation is
present and the type. Enter R-factor or show
depth and site. If the type cannot be
determined, enter "Unknown". Do not guess.
o Comment whether the insulation is (G)ood,
(A)verage, (F)air, (P)oor or (U)ndetermined.
Ceiling o Make every effort to determine the type. Enter
R-factor or show depth and site. If the type
cannot be determined, enter "Unknown". Do not
guess.
o Comment whether the insulation is (G)ood,
(A)verage, (F)air, (P)oor or (U)ndetermined.
Walls o Make every effort to determine the type. Enter
R-factor or show depth and
site. If the type cannot be determined, enter
"Unknown". Do not
guess.
o Comment whether the insulation is (G)ood,
(A)verage, (F)air, (P)oor or
(U)ndetermined.
Floor o Make every effort to determine the type. Enter
R-factor or show depth and
site. If the type cannot be determined, enter
"Unknown". Do not
guess.
o Comment whether the insulation is (G)ood,
(A)verage, (F)air, (P)oor or (U)ndetermined.
None o Check this line if there is no insulation
anywhere in the house.
Unknown o Check this line if unable to determine the
presence of insulation.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
edited later for clarity: I was talking ONLY about those areas where one cannot inspect: walls cathedral ceilings etc... YES OF COURSE YOU MUST INSPECT ATTICS AND CRAWLS WHERE YOU CAN
After running through the book: I think I AM doing this 100%correctly and refuse to lose any sleep!
regards All
-------------------------

Thanks Brad!
:oops: Guess I had better whip that 4150.2 back out and reread that section! :oops: I had started using that 'Assumed average' comment on my Conventional reports and it slid over to the FHA...

How bout I use 'concld' on all the applicable lines and check the 'Unknown' instead of useing the ASSumed? Personally, I think this provides for greater clarity....
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Check with your manual, it is ALWAYS the final word. The underwriter is correct in that Unknown is not acceptable. Typically an appraiser should look in the attic to determine there is insulation. If you can, measure the depth of the stuff. You can either report the depth or convert to R Factor. Marshall and Swift has a good reference, mine is pretty old (page D-10 1991 book) but still reliable.

R-13 is one 2 -5/8th batt or blanket
R-19 is one 6 -1/2th batt or blanket
R-30 is one 6 -1/2th bath and one 3-1/2 batt

Walls are typically R-11 which is 3 -1/2 in fiberglass batt and 1 " sheathing
R-19 is 3 -5/8th + 1" sheathing. or could be 6 - 1/2 batt

The chart also will tell you what zone you are in...either mild, moderate, or extreme and what the requirement is for that zone. Ours is moderate so we need R-30 ceilings, R-19 walls, and R-19 floors to meet current code. Remember older homes will be grandfathered as to code.

I teach this in my registered appraisers course for all appraiser wannabees. Amazing how many have no clue as to what is required.

A final thought...I always use the following E R-19 (E = Estimated) which takes me off the hook just in case it isn't EXACTLY R-19.

If you don't have Marshall and Swift, give me a call and I will fax you a copy of that page for reference.

I wish you well.
 
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