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Weather Impact

Q: " I appraised the subject property a few weeks ago in connection with a purchase loan. Over this past weekend, there was some major rainfall and flooding in the area where this house is located. This morning I received a request from the client. They want me to drive by the house and report as to whether or not the property was “impacted by the recent weather event.”

I am not sure what they mean by “impacted.” I drove past the house and saw that all flood water had receded in the area. It doesn’t look like this home suffered any damage, but how do I know if I don’t go inside?

A: I understand your concerns. Were you provided with a form to complete or does the client expect you to create something yourself? Either way, it is best to confirm, in writing, what they are asking you to do. Do they want to know whether recent flooding might “impact” the market in the way of creating some kind of stigma? If so, that is a whole other assignment.

In all likelihood, they are asking you if this house was flooded or suffered any apparent flood damage. All you can do is report what you did (or didn’t) see during the very limited drive by inspection. You should state that the flood waters had receded and that there was no standing water at the house or any evidence of water intrusion, HOWEVER, you need to reiterate that you were asked to only perform the drive by, so you cannot comment upon the interior condition of the home.

You should also remind the client that you are not a building inspector, contractor or engineer, that you visually inspected only those exterior areas that could be viewed from the curb and that you make no guarantees about the absence of conditions that might have been discovered if additional inspection was conducted.

Visit the LIA website to review the Claim Alert: Appraising After a Natural Disaster and find additional discussion and suggested disclaimers.

Would you like Claudia to manage your liability concerns?