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Pre Hurricane Appraisa Vs Post Hurricane Appraisal

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DebFuse

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Louisiana
I would appreciate any advise you can give on my situation. In July 2005, I performed a complete interior/exterior evaluation of a brick on slab home in Lake Charles, Louisiana. At the time of my evaluation there were no cracks noted on exterior brick, foundation, interior walls, and visible floor areas. (vinyl and carpet flooring). I completed the appraisal, submitted it the lender and the loan closed, no problems. I never heard from the lender again until after Hurricane Rita ( in September 2005),blew through the Lake Charles area. Approximately one year later I recieved a phone call from the lender telling me that they were going to sue me due to my failure to disclose a crack to brick wall on exterior of home. According to the lender another appraisal was ordered and completed by another appraiser (Post hurricane). His post hurricane report stated there was a crack on brick wall on exterior of home. Damage to homes from the hurricane were extreme in the area, total destruction of hundreds of homes, total roof loss, shifting on concrete slab foundations, etc. I am now being told that I have to prove there was no damage to bricks on exterior wall at the time of my evaluation. The only photos I took were the required photos, (front, rear, street & interior). I had NO reason to take photos of the South side of the home (where the cracks are now). Am I nuts or are we not talking apples and oranges? Pre hurricane appraisal vs Post hurricane appraisal? I am being accused of failure to disclose a crack on exterior brick wall causing the home to no longer being marketable. I've been back to the home since the hurricane and there are extensive damages to the entire home which were not present before the hurricane. Any comments/advise you all may have will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Deb
 

Marcia Langley

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Missouri
Deb,

Unless they have evidence the crack was there prior to or during your subject visit I'd think this would be easy to refute. I hope you took more pictures when you went back later. Document everything you can regarding damage that can be proven to be subsequent to your effective date.

If they do sue you, call your E&O agent and get a lawyer. Don't try to do it by yourself.

In future, include pics of all sides of the house.

Good luck!
 

moretti

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Oregon
I dont know much about law, but it seems that if many homes in the area were destroyed and damaged that you would have a pretty valid reason for their being cracks in the foundation now. This sounds like one of those cases thats just unbelievable it could be brought forth by someone. Best of luck!
 

Lawrence R.

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
South Carolina
Not legal advice.

But here is what I would do.


nothing. wait for the summons. Don't talk to them, don't send them anything.

Make everything they say and do be in writing.

Go back and take extensive pictures of the house as is, which can prove that other areas, such as the ones you DID photograph now have damage that previously wasn't there.

And then wait. My guess is, this will go away if it is exactly how you described it.

Now, if they had an appraisal contemporaneous to yours, and it disclosed the cracks, you would be in hot water.

But then, that begs the question if they had it when they made the loan, and didn't consider it reliable then, why would they now?

Nah, they got nuttin. Relax.

Oh, and before I lose my AF Addict status---

WHERE IS YOUR SUPERVISOR AND WHY ISN'T HE HANDLING THIS?????
 

DebFuse

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Louisiana
thank you all for responding,

I have hired an attorney and after a deposition this past Friday it appears it's strictly my word against theirs,the don't have a prior appraisal before mine. I did take photos when I went back after the hurricane and have given them to my attorney. My supervisor at the time is now battling cancer, very ill,incapable of standing trial. I am since certified but don't know how to change my info here.
 

Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
But here is what I would do.


nothing. wait for the summons. Don't talk to them, don't send them anything.

Make everything they say and do be in writing.

Go back and take extensive pictures of the house as is, which can prove that other areas, such as the ones you DID photograph now have damage that previously wasn't there.

And then wait. My guess is, this will go away if it is exactly how you described it.

Now, if they had an appraisal contemporaneous to yours, and it disclosed the cracks, you would be in hot water.

But then, that begs the question if they had it when they made the loan, and didn't consider it reliable then, why would they now?

Nah, they got nuttin. Relax.

Oh, and before I lose my AF Addict status---

WHERE IS YOUR SUPERVISOR AND WHY ISN'T HE HANDLING THIS?????


I agree with Larry. I also agree that you do first things first. Notify your, or your mentors E & O Insurance company. Then, do nothing but wait. The lender likely has no case but is going to sue everyone to attempt to mitigate their loss. I realize that our first reaction when this happens is to want to do something. That something is to notify the E&O insurance company and only do what they or their attorney tells you to do. Do not respond to the lender. If you get a subpoena, notify your E & O insurance.
 

Mike Plumlee

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Wow, you've already been deposed? This is going too fast or you are letting us in on the story in the bottom of the 9th inning.

The legal advice you get here is valid.

I am reminded of another thread on here about a week ago concerning the topic of taking pictures. Many on the forum here were discounting the idea of taking excessive numbers of pictures of the subject as being wasteful. This situation you're in is exactly why you take 30-50 photos on an inspection. Taking extra photos of everything doesn't help on the date of inspection typically, but it sure comes in handy 2-3 years later when you have to prove what the subject looked like.
 

Ted Martin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Kansas
Did the homeowners apply for disaster assistance? There may be a FEMA or SBA Disaster loan application and field inspection report on the subject property. The homeowner may also have identified the damaged area in their application.
 

Non Sequitur

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Louisiana
I had NO reason to take photos of the South side of the home (where the cracks are now).
Yes you did, to cover your rear later down the road. I'll bet you wish you had them now. While not having the photo doesn't mean you didn't look, if you had it there would'nt be question.

IMO what this may come down to is what happened to properties adjacent to the subject. If the properties were similarly damaged, you have a good case. If the properties were not, they have a good case. You should hire a good structural engineer. There are established methods which can determine if the crack was long term or a result of wind damage.

My guess is they have a little more up their sleeve than the word of another appraiser.
 

Carnivore

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
The burden of proof lies with them. Especially after a hurricane!!! :Eyecrazy:

Just deny it and wait and see. Dont get on the defensive. Its all offense first then defense.

Maybe they have something, maybe they dont. Keeping silent does not cause them to pull out the big guns. If they had big guns you would already know about it! There are no surprises in court.
 
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