Am I on shaky ground?

Q: " In a recent report I required a structural inspection. The home is over 100 years old. It has a raised foundation, wood subflooring, wood floor joisting , post/pier foundation. The floors are carpeted but there were multiple places where they felt soft and uneven. The agent sent me a report from a licensed engineering contractor that says everything is OK. Personally, I don’t buy it. I think there is a problem. I verified that this guy’s license is current and valid. The client says this “expert” report is good enough for me to remove the condition. If they are satisfied, I guess I shouldn’t worry, but I wonder if there is anything else I could, or should, do to protect myself. "

A: I appreciate your concerns. As a residential appraiser, your primary risk comes from third party claims, so you need to make sure your report insulates you if it turns out this “expert” is wrong. I would add language to your report simply laying all of this out. Explain that after you called for the inspection you were provided with a report prepared by ______. The report was provided to the client, who deemed it to be acceptable, and the condition was removed.

You than need to reiterate that the appraiser is not an expert and cannot verify the accuracy or the reliability of the report or the opinions stated. You want it to be understood that you are communicating the opinions expressed by someone else. These are not the findings nor the opinion of the appraiser. Confirm all of this in writing with your client, as well. If something comes up later, you want it to be clear that you were simply the middle man who passed along the information. You are not taking ownership of any opinions expressed by the contractor.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?