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Light fixtures-Need Help asap

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Julia Young

Thread Starter
Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
HUD says "no exposed wiring in living areas" in HUDCLIPs. Very vague. My scenario or question: Bare light bulb hanging from socket at the end of 2-3 ft plain cords from ceiling in laundry area and also in hallway, both living areas. Cords are insulated of course and lights operate from switches without chains although they have the appearance of the old chain type. Owner does not want to install flush or ceiling/wall light fixtures. He said the lights were proper under the code when it was built (1920s). Wiring appears new, is not frayed. I always required flush fixtures on FHA with all exposed bulbs covered even on fans, except in bath areas that have decorative bulb type fixtures above sinks. A line of thought here is that chandeliers have similar hanging cords with exposed bulbs, although most are secured with chains. Why would this be any different (aside from looks) from a technical standpoint or is it? I need help today if possible. Chapter and verse if you have any.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
I think the exposed wiring issue deals more with shock hazards than "chandoliers" or hanging lights. Is the light affixed to the ceiling properly? Is it possible to get "fried" changing the light bulb by accidently touching the wiring? This question was posed more toward exposed electrical sockets and breaker boxes with exposed wires, but they realize that exposed wires could be almost anywhere. Use good judgment. Would you feel safe if your child tried to change that light bulb when you were not looking?
 

Wally Jones

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

Hard to believe that HUD guidelines would be vague.......... :wink:

Does it affect the "Salability, Safey or Security" of the property? I reckon it depends on the definition of "exposed wiring". Since it's insulated, it may be just fine. On the slim chance that the building code may have changed since 1920, you might want to check with local officials. Also, a call to your friendly REAC folks might be in order.

The only chapter and verse I think you'll find is 4150.2 and the HOC Reference Guide, Chapter 1, but neither one lists specifics other than "frayed wiring".

Sorry to write all of this and not offer any real help. Maybe Ben V. will see this and give you some better advice.

Good luck.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

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

I'm not familiar with this fixture type and I need a little more info to help you.

You mention a ceiling socket. So is the existing hanging light bulb hardwired into this socket/fixture or is it plugged into the ceiling socket via a cord with a standard plug?

I know of no FHA requirement for flush ceiling fixtures.

Ben
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Julie --

The bare-bulb issue as you describe it is a non-issue. It's quite safe.

Fraying and exposed wiring is the issue.

Likewise, the seller's comment about the 1920s code is an excuse for his benefit and without purpose other than to dissuade you from your opinion.

In the 1920s the "drop cords" were made of twisted silk coverings which by now would have dried, become brittle and peeled off exposing the wires. That would be dangerous.

IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THIS: Explain to your loan broker or UW that the seller and you have a disagreement and you've ordered a cert to settle it. What do certs costs in your area. $25-$50?

It's also cheaper than sending you back to the property to inspect, or, worse yet, having a continuing disagreement over which your opinion counts for more, anyways. UNLESS, of course, if the seller is right!.
 

Julia Young

Thread Starter
Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
I am beginning to wonder now exactly what I saw and wish I had taken a picture. The best of my memory now is that it is one of those strange looking fabric striped cords, but it looked to be unfrayed. The socket on the end of the cord was not at ceiling level. I cannot now honestly say how the treatment was at ceiling level although there was no plate, still it did not have a rough unfinished appearance, which would have caught my notice. I thought it was strange to see the cord and socket hanging bare. I have always required a light fixture cover even when socket is mounted on the ceiling when the bulbs are exposed. Also required a finish to fan lights that have had their globes broken and the bulbs exposed. Maybe I need to rethink now that I am needing some specific guidelines as my training was with another appraiser who I learned to imitate. It isn't like there is a lot of detail on some of these things in the handbooks.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Under the circumstances of no pictures, just make it simple and call for an electrical inspection. Done!
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Julia --

I think you are overdoing it a little. Like somebody above said, SSS: Safety, Saleability and Security (choose the order).

Drops are back in fashion again, those nice ivory fat round cords suspending a globe just above your head. And swags are out now.

Unfinished doesn't mean anything other than aesthetics.

Those hanging cords in the hallway could be a proper fixture without the globe. Nothing more sinister.

What is called a pigtail is even sufficient at the ceiling and is probably legal. It's the ultimate in basic lighting. Go to a fixture shop and you'll see this odd assortment of people (aka a DIYers) buying stuff. Believe it or not, these people are going home and installing this stuff themselves!

If it works and is safe, it's probably none of the appraisers business. And I caution against using other justifications for going beyound that criterion.
Sometimes I mention stuff in the VC sheets that I see to protect me. If the UW doesn't question it, it gets through as I wrote about it -- Home free.

Your're right. Imitate the people who know. Come back here and we'll get you straigthened out in a hurry. Keeping in mind there's no perfect one way to do anything, including measuring a house!! The nice about the Forum, you can end up with several opinions and pick the one you like best. May not be right, but you decipher after hearing the pro-con supporters.

The HUD 4150.2 was written by this little old lady who lives in a condo overlooking a creek in/around Washington, DC. She's only seen pictures of houses. She doesn't even know she owns her condo. All she knows is that the landlord wanted a huge deposit before she moved in. But she thinks the rent is cheap. And she thinks those crazy people who want to spend their own money painting and re-roofing the place and fixing up the grounds are a little bit daft.
 

Julia Young

Thread Starter
Sophomore Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
:lol: Larry,
I like your sense of humor.
I was in a CE class recently, taught by an Appraisal Institute MAI who told us he never appraises now, only consults. His advice, "if you must be wrong, do it consistently."
I plan on being generous and let the bulb thing get by.
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Julia --

Appraisal pedagogy is a lot like religion. Get them young, teach 'em your way and don't deviate.

'Remember: You aren't consulting when you are answering an attorneys' questions in a deposition on a job you've peerformed. [Maybe you are -- you're consulting with yourself.]'

Consistency is the name of the game, that's the rreason I'm an ardent believer in boilerplate as the basic tool to tickle your brain on every single appraisal. Every appraisal needs certain things accommodated in places where the UW expects to find such information. From that basis, it's very easy to expand into deviations that have to be addressed and to place them in the right context and in the right location within the appraisal framework. You are indeed building a report. It does need structure. Not rambling so that every word every time has to be digested.

The hardest thing for an FHA appraiser to learn is overlooking aesthetic items. Remember, the buyer has seen the house. They liked it because it was dirty and fit their budget and lifestyle: 8 kids, 4 dogs, 14 puppies, 5 cats and 21 kittens, 3 laying chickens, a geribil, a frog, 2 fishes in 2 bowls in 2 bedrooms, and one henpecker (-da Mrs.-). AND, that's a problem the FHA appraiser cannot solve for them or society.

These are the people HUD wants targeted for housing. If they don't make the payments and keep the property up, HUD puts a mark on the appraisers record. Doing the VC sheets correctly is mutually exclusive to defaulting on the loan -- but somehow, the impression is left that the house required too much upkeep at time of purchase. That may be true, but it's also more likely that the new homeowner has NO skills on maintenance and often times no residual cash to do anything. Equally likely is that the homeowner set about doing nonsencial cosmetic improvements.
 
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