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Completion Certificate Assignment

Q: " A client called and asked me do him a big favor by certifying a repair. The original appraiser had called for a window repair in his report and the client said that the repair work was done, but the original appraiser has COVID and couldn’t check. The client asked if I could go to the house and just certify that the window repair had been completed. I thought this would be pretty easy, but I was wrong.

When I got to the house, the garage door was open and the garage was empty. I saw a pretty big crack that ran the length of the floor and went up one wall. I also noticed a lot of dark spots near the crack, similar to an old water intrusion. I couldn’t tell if maybe water was seeping up through the crack or where the damage came from.

The client only asked me to deal with the window repair (which was completed, by the way). But should I ignore this garage issue? Did the original appraiser mention this? Maybe the garage was full of boxes when he inspected and he never saw this?

I added language to the completion report I prepared that said I did not do the original appraisal and that I had not been provided with the original report. Further, I was only confirming that the specific window repair had been completed. I was not reporting on or confirming value nor was I reporting on any other conditions or defects that might be present at the property or any repairs that might be required.

Can you think of anything else I should add?"

A: We usually advise appraisers not to accept the completion certificate assignment if they did not perform the original report and call out the original repair. I understand you were only doing a “favor” here, but situations like this are common. The appraiser doing the completion inspection is at a loss because he or she has such limited information.

It sounds like you have the issue with the garage covered. My only advice is with respect to the original window repair. It is always a good idea to state that while it appears the window has been repaired, you cannot comment on the quality of the workmanship or the materials utilized.

This kind of language is always a good idea when asked to report back on the status of repairs. You don’t know if a qualified repairman did the work, or if the homeowner did a patch job with materials he had laying around in the garage. What looks good today, might spring a leak after the first rain.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?