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What would you do?

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Dee Dee

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Elite Member
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Jan 16, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Colorado
I'm getting a couple of different opinions on how to handle this one, would appreciate some input.
An LO (potential client? :? ) has a fixer-upper under contract that he wants to purchase, and I'm the lucky one who gets to do the appraisal.
Home built in 1969 could use some cosmetic updating but otherwise appears to be in sound condition.
Problem: there's a 15 ft. wide deck on the main level (raised ranch, so it's like the second story) that juts out approximately 10 ft.. No supports at all underneath it. I'm sure that if a few over-sized adults walked out on the edge that it has the potential to collapse and certainly wouldn't meet current codes.
One opinion says to hit it for functional obsolesence, perhaps $300 cost to cure by adding support beams with footings. The other says that it should be considered as part of the physical depreciation (I'm figuring 12 years), but specifically address the lack of deck supports in the addendum as a safety issue.
BTW...this is a conventional loan, not FHA. Purchase price is definately no problem, the guy is getting a good deal.
How would you handle this if it was your report?
 

xmrdfghap

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General Public
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Florida
<span style='color:brown'>Dee Dee. How is the deck attached to the home? If the home is 20' or more wide, and the deck is cantilevered then there is no problem.....it should fall well within the design standards common in architectural engineering.

Did you walk out on the deck? Was it "spongy?" Typically a cantilevered beam can extend 1/3 of the length of the beam without support.......and retain the structural integrity of the rest of the beam........providing the beams can hold the design weight. If the beams are glulams, W iron, or simply trusses, then there should be no problem with it. If you do not feel secure with it, ask for an engineers inspection. But I think you will find that the structure is safe....if it were not cantilevered and was simply attached to the exterior wall, it would have come off a long time ago......the snow load would exceed any live load ever put on it.</span>
 

brunge

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Aug 24, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Virginia
Good advice from goodpasture,

I assumed from your description that the structural integrity of the deck was not sound. I would make a suggestion to the Loan Officer that the deck be inspected by qualified builder, engineer, etc... I would either make any needed repairs a requirement of the appraisal or I would make a condition adjustment based on the cost to repair. I typically ask my regular clients which of the 2 options they would prefer. Of course I would clearly state in the report my concerns regarding any safety issues… CYA
 

Dee Dee

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Elite Member
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Jan 16, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Greg,
No cantilevers or trusses, and it looks as if there were recently replaced boards where the deck attaches to the exterior of the house. All other decks that I've seen attached to the home in this manner have support beams. When I tested it there was a bit of give that leads me to believe that this deck would go down if too many people got on it. In fact I'd bet money that it would. Though I couldn't find evidence that there has ever been support beams, I believe that the seller did a quick patch job on this deck to make it look straight and level.
And wouldn't ya know it....the buyer (LO) wants to close on this house by next Friday. Big 'oh please help me' rush order. Something tells me that I'm going to be catching some crap soon. :(
 

Terry Russell

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Feb 24, 2002
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Appraiser Trainee
State
Montana
Sounds like a booby trap.

Observed Physical Condition Immediate attention needed.

Terry
 

xmrdfghap

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Jan 15, 2002
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General Public
State
Florida
Without adeuqate support, I would appraisse the house with a cost to cure by installation of supports. I would not consider a cure as being removal (you still have that doorway to contend with). But it appears that what you need to do is value the home as is rather than as a ready to live in unit. I cannot imagine it taking more than a days work or $500 in material and labor to make the deck safe. Removal might take only 15 minutes and a crow bar, but then you would have to put a landing where the deck used to be.

Is there adequate egress from that floor or does the deck serve as emergency exit? There might be a necessity to adjust for a lack of stairway as well. But even then, three stringers, treads, and handrails are not going to exceed another $500.
 

Randy Beigh

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Lee Ann

I agree with Greg. Further, this is a health and safety issue that has the potential of attracting lawyers from far and wide. As a result, I would make it very clear in your report that you have concerns and that an engineers report is being required because of those concerns.

My son was attending college and some of his friends were at somebody's home party and about 20 people were on a deck when it collapsed. One person died. Be careful and protect yourself.
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Dee Dee --

Even though the appraisal is conventional, I would simply make it subject to a satisfactory engineering report addressing the following [your concerns]:

Then enumerate them.

It's hard to even imagine a Deck affixed directly to the House per se, let alone cantilevered, for lots of reasons, but mainly:

--Canting beyond a few feet requires very sturdy understructure which is usually a lot more expensive than mere "Y"-supports or footings to the frost lline requirement.

--Unless the property is of good quality (or excellent, certainly above average or better), it's simply unlikely to have any of this type of engineering involved in the original structure. I'm trying to think Colorado. But you can pick and choose what you might find helpful out of this.

--Decks are most commonly affiixed to the house via some sort of bracketing in order to prevent the Deck and House shifting against one another and eventually breaking the mutual tension by torsion.

--$500 for the whole job seems woefully inadequate. More likely that amount for each pier (with a minum of 3) plus the cost of the materials and labor for the supports.
 

Dee Dee

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Thanks all for your input.
I called the LO who is purchasing the place and he agreed that one of the first things that he was going to do with this fixer-upper was to put in support beams. In fact, the first item on his list of things to do to the place was to tear the whole thing down and build a new one. No idea why they were never installed in the first place but he agreed that it was a safety issue. After looking at the way my own deck was installed and comparing it was easy to tell that the deck was safely mounted to the house but the lack of any additional support 10 ft. out from the house was definately far too much stress on the area where it was affixed to the structure.
I detailed my concerns on the addendum and determined that the cost to cure would be approximately $300 to $500. I'll leave it up to the lender to determine if an engineer's report is necessary or how they wish to work with the buyer or seller to get repairs done. I've disclosed what I know and that it's a safety issue, the rest is up to the other parties in the transaction. Hopefully they can come up with a solution that everyone can agree upon.
 

Frederick R. Ruffell

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Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Problem: there's a 15 ft. wide deck on the main level (raised ranch, so it's like the second story) that juts out approximately 10 ft.. No supports at all underneath it.

So how is it held up??? Magic??? No, it has to be cantilevered. Dee Dee if you do not know what "cantilever" means then you should not pretend that you do. I am assuming that you do not understanding the meaning of the word because of you response "No cantilevers or trusses". If you do understand then I apologize.

A canterlever is not so much a a thing (although it is a noun) but more of an engineering technique. There are cantilever beams (this is probably what is used in your deck), cantilever arches, cantilever bridges, cantilever retaining walls, cantilever springs, cantilever vibration etc..

It has to be cantilevered (I am not saying it was cantilevered correctly), or it would need posts to support the beams that hang the joists that support the deck boards. The deck boards are what you actually stand on and are probably what you say are the "recently replaced boards".

In fact, if indeed the overall width of the deck is 15' and 10 feet "juts out" (I think you mean overhangs) then this is an accident waiting to happen. It should be the other way around (as Greg has advised) with only 1/3 ( 5') of the total length (15'), cantilevered (Overhanging, jutting out etc.)

Call for the inspection by a qualified engineer!!!!!
 
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