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Roof Concerns

Q: " I prepared a residential appraisal about 2 weeks ago. This was for a refinance loan. While I was inspecting the house the property owner just sort of blurted out that when it rains, heavily, the roof leaks over the kitchen. I was at the house on a sunny, July day and it hasn’t rained in this area in several months. I took several photos of the kitchen ceiling to show that there was no evidence of prior water intrusion. I also looked at the roof and saw no obvious missing shingles.

I thought it was a little odd that the owner just made this announcement about the roof leaking out of the blue. I didn’t think I could just ignore her comment so I stated in the appraisal that the owner made this comment during the inspection. I went on to say that I saw no evidence of leaks in the kitchen (and noted the multiple photos) and that I saw no obvious damage to the roof. I also said that I inspected the property in July and that there has been no rain in the area since March. Since I am not a roof expert I made the report subject to an inspection by a qualified roofer to determine if there was damage to the roof that needed to be repaired.

The lender sent me a certification from a local roofer, who says the roof is just fine, and they want me to remove the condition. This is a small town and everyone knows everyone. This roofer is a bit notorious, and not in a good way. His license record is long. He has been cited several times, for a variety of things. His license is current, but I don’t trust him or his opinion.

I sent the out of state lender this guy’s license history and they don’t seem to care. Since his license is current, that is all they need to see. The lender is breathing down my neck and asking for the report to be finalized. Any advice on how I can handle this? I hate to see this homeowner get duped into thinking the roof is just fine, if that is not the case."

A: I appreciate your concerns but you have done all that you can do. You tried to protect both your client, and the property owner. I would suggest you put notes in your file about what transpired and keep the notes with the email from the lender. You should also put a note in your report that says something like...

"The certification dated_________, signed by ________, has been deemed acceptable by the client/lender, so the condition has been removed. The appraiser makes no guarantees or warranties regarding the reliability or acceptability of the certification provided. Additional verification regarding the reliability of the certification goes beyond the appraiser's scope of work and expertise."

You brought the problem to the attention of the client. If they are satisfied with this roofer’s opinion, there is really nothing more you can do but include language in your report to make sure you are protected if it turns out later that this guy’s opinion was not a good one.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?