Solano Real Estate Scene: Appraiser obligated to report visible danger, risk

When an appraiser is hired to do an appraisal on a residential one- to four-unit property, he or she is required to give an opinion of value and although they are not licensed general contractors, roofers or pest inspectors, they are obligated to disclose anything they see that is a potential health and safety or structural risk for the potential buyer and the lender. For example, the second floor deck is obviously dry rotted to a point that the homeowner or Realtor tells the appraiser to avoid stepping on it because at any moment, it might fall off the house. Other examples are the water heater is not double-strapped and there are no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, the appraiser sees ceiling stains throughout the home showing evidence of active roof leaks or floors in the kitchen and bathrooms that are obviously loaded with dry rot – and under the sink the appraiser can visually see the dry rot getting worse because the pipes are leaking during the inspection and mold and mildew is evident. The appraiser will photograph the deficiencies and give an opinion of value on this type of property “subject to” these concerns being corrected. The buyer may be willing to buy the home AS-IS and take care of all the repairs after the close of escrow at their expense or the seller may be willing to pay for the repairs but cannot afford to pay for them until they get the money from the sale, but all institutional A-paper banks, credit unions and mortgage bankers will not close a loan without a clear AS-IS appraisal. This is where local, experienced lenders shine over the internet and out-of-town call center lenders because experience, communication and face-to-face brainstorming on challenges like this is why most Realtors, financial advisers and lawyers will usually recommend calling a local experienced mortgage pro. Hear Ye! Hear Ye! sellers who are considering selling or borrowers procrastinating on refinancing because you might think your house is a mess or you have some deferred maintenance and maybe even some things you are embarrassed about like a garage that is filled to the rafters with junk, or maybe you don’t want the appraiser to see your overgrown backyard that you have been promising your wife you would clean up for five years. Get over it. More people are like Oscar Madison than they are Felix Unger. Yes, a home in perfect condition will sell and appraise for more than a sloppy house, but do not procrastinate if you need to refinance because as long as a home is safe, an appraiser will appraise most homes AS-IS and if your home does have visible and obvious deferred maintenance, water damage and dry rot, procrastinating will only make it worse. Sellers simply need to consult a local real estate agent and a local lender because we can help you with the funds needed to repair your house and stage it for sale.