Photo: Deck Repair for Single-Family Residence with Padlocked Area - Lender/Client Protection for a real estate appraisal - Visual evidence of the back deck in need of repair and inaccessible area under the deck with padlocked door. This is real estate appraiser related.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?

Client Insists on Cost to Cure

Q: " I’ve been discussing an issue with my lender/client. Instead of making my report ‘subject to’, they’re insisting that I provide a ‘cost to cure’ for a back deck that needs repair for a single-family residence, but I’m uncomfortable doing so. The borrower claims it only needs repainting, but I believe some wood needs replacing. Additionally, the area under the deck is padlocked and the borrower has stood me up twice now when we’ve scheduled to access it. I don’t want to push back too hard and lose their business. Can you suggest any language that might give me extra protection? I have taken pictures of the padlocked door. "

A: Obviously, you should always note that any repair estimate provided is only an "estimate" because the appraiser is not a contractor and that the estimate applies to "repairs to those areas of damage that were visibly apparent". Maybe say something along the lines of, "The appraiser cannot be held responsible for failing to comment upon needed repairs in areas that were not accessible or that were hidden from view. The appraiser was unable to observe the area underneath the deck despite requesting access on several occasions. If there is concern about the condition of the underside of the deck, an additional inspection should be arranged by a qualified professional."

I assume you also have photos of the areas in need of repair that you observed. If it turns out that there is no support for the deck, and that is what the borrower did not want you to see, I think you make it clear that you were not allowed underneath.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?