What About Fire Damage?

Q: "About 2 weeks ago I appraised a home in California.  This property was in an area affected by the recent wildfires.  Today, the lender called and said that they wanted me to go out, ASAP, drive by the property and report whether or not it has been affected... 'in any way by recent events...' What do I do?"

A: I think you have to explain to the lender that you cannot possibly comply with this request. First of all, if the property was in an evacuation area, you might not be able to get anyplace close to it for quite some time. Second, other than saying whether or not it is still standing, you really are not in a position to comment further. Even if it shows no signs of damage on the outside, how can you comment on whether or not there is a smoke issue on the inside? That request from the lender is pretty vague and broad. How can you comment on whether or not the market will be affected until you see what happens in the coming weeks and months? Sometimes the client has unreasonable requests and you might have to "Just Say No!

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