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My guess could make a difference. Do I say anything?

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Pamela Crowley (Florida)

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Conventional appraisal, purchase, son from elderly and sick mother. House was illegal 2 family where the son put on an addition that he lives in with no way to get between the units without going outside. I did it on hypothetical condition that it's already a single family plus subject to an opening being installed in the common wall to make it legally a single family.

The back yard had water above ground near where the septic system is and I added: "Appraiser highly recommends a septic system inspection." The underwriter called for one.

I'm doing the compliance inspection for the opening between the units this morning and it's supposed to close this afternoon. The LO tells me the son had a septic company out yesterday that pumped the tank and verbally said the system is OK. Now, I'm told the septic co. letter will state that it needs repairs/new drain field. Son decided to have a 'second' septic co. do another inspection today. Since it was just pumped, it will likely show no problem as the tank is currently empty. I have no idea what the second company will have to say about this but, I'd bet the drain field needs to be replaced.

Do I say anything or just keep my mouth shut and leave it to the septic companies? This is not my butt on the line and will fall on some septic company if the loan goes south. I'm thinking, keep my mouth shut since this is not my area of expertise and I already did my job properly.
 

airphoto

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Pam,

Presuming you have no remarks to make in your final inspection, inre: the septic system you're clean .. no 'misleading' remarks involved. If the LO/Underwriters wanna take the buyer's word for the system, that's their business. Does the first septic system report go directly to the LO/Underwriter?

Now .. do you have a moral or ethical requirement to alert the lender? Gets a lil fuzzy, when you now are party to the knowledge. Should you err on the side of the lender? Is it a good account?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Let me asl you this. Do you have any knowledge of a condition that could be detrimental to the property or cause the client or borrowers harm? If I had such informaiton (escpecially first hand from the original ispector) I would disclose it. If the second company disagrees, let them put it in writing to satisfy the client. You will have stated in your report that you know of the condition. If somehting goes wrong afterwards, you can say, I told you about the condition and you chose to accept the letter from the comany that said it was ok.

Good luck.
 

William Harmon

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Pam :
I agree and disagree,
you have done your Job but disclose , they have inspected. They are the experts in this field. Let the letters do the talking. You called for an inspection. the inspection was done. I would want a copy of course of all correspondence for my files To prove inspection was completed. When I call for a roof inspection in Michigan, The Contractor takes all responsibility as he signs off. Many times I have been in disagreement with the contractor but he is the expert in the field. I look at a roof and state a builders contractors services should be engaged, as the appraiser is not an expert in this field. If they lie they die.
Example of a true case
I had one letter from one builder who said roof needs to be stripped I had another said roof does not. Placed both letters in report , Stated again I am not an expert and place the heat on the underwriter. lender took letter for no work at face value. 6 months later builder who said no roof needed was putting on new roof to avoid lawsuit.
Get a copy of both letters !!
But make sure you disclose both letters and both views There very well may be nothing wrong with the system, you have no idea. As long as your documentation hides nothing, you have nothing to fear
Just my thoughts, I am sure you will hear a few more.
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Pamela, just think of the times it happens without your knowledge. I would mention that there were two different inspections and leave it for the experts. There is a chance that the first inspector was trying to sell repairs that were not needed. The second inspector could have recognized that the system was way past standard maintenance. I would state that two inspections have been done and let the underwriter handle it.
 

Carnivore

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Pamela,

I agree with Tim. How many times have we all encountered a unscrupolous contractor. It is very possible that there is nothing wrong at all. You are not a expert septic tank inspector.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
North Carolina
Pamela

The fact that two "experts" see the property differently is very common.
I would report what you know, the client is paying for you to be their eyes and ears. In other words, the client needs to be told the "whole truth." You do not need to take a position, just report the facts.

Regards

Tom Hildebrandt GAA
 

J. Parker Graham

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Guesswork on an appraisal report ?

Pamela,

I do not cozy up to Loan Officers. If they operate in a profesional manor they can handle bad news or further inspections.

I do not operate out side the municipality authority. If you suspected the addition was "illegal" then I would have required a building inspection or written evidence that building permits were taken out and closed. If this is not done you are determing the structure meets or exceeds all building code. There could be a liability greater than the septic system.

Conditions: 1) exist, 2) do not exist, 3) or the apraiser is unable to determine. If unable to determine, get an outside licensed inspector
to sign a written document and make your value - "subject to". No verbals from the buyer, seller, or loan officer. You are in charge here
but protect your self by not using "hypotheticals". Cost to cure yes, but that is for another post at another time

Don't make your liability more than it already is. Document any unkowns with extra pictures and text. Make the reader as familiar with the "condition" as you are. Call first to underwritting if you have too. Do not make "recomendations". And don't exceed your authority. Never assume any thing. Verify and report, only. as the only thing that matters is what is in your final written report.

I hope that you can resolve this case without any further problems.

J. Parker Graham
 

Dan/Fla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Many years ago a friend told "Always remember the 12 commandments- the 1st 10 we all know, but the 11th Always cover thy A_ _ and the 12th above all others always remember the 11th."

Do the final inspection "subject to a inspection of septic by a certified ??? have no idea what they are call themselfs.

Yes I now LO wants to close, But if you state everything is fine, who do you think will buy the new septic system, and drain field hummmm ? I have many Roof Inspections, Termite reports, and other reports in my files, just encase someone wants to sue someone, I will lead them away from me. People for get that someone told them on a phone that its good I like to see that state license number so I know the should know what they are talking about. If you make it subject to this inspection report and the LO makes the loan you have covered your A_ _. :oops:
 
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