This may apply to more states than Texas, but I am mainly concerned with our state.
Lately I have had an influx of inquiries for “certified” specialty inspections - roofs or foundations mainly. The caller’s story is always the same. They are refinancing and had an appraisal. The Appraiser noted a concern (I’ll give three examples), did not expand or fully inspect. But his “concern” is now holding up the refi and causing the homeowner to have to search out additional professionals with little or no specifics on what they really need done.
Foundation - 30 yo home, large tree in front yard. Appraiser commented that the tree may be too large/too close to house and “COULD” be detrimental to the foundation health. Did not comment on any observable problems - just the presence of the tree. Underwriter proceeds to tell homeowner - you have to get a certified inspection to verify that the foundation is good and not being harmed by the tree. Homeowner has lived in home for 10 years and has noticed no problems. Notices no problems after looking closely after Appraiser comment. But is being forced to pay to have this looked at. I recommended going ahead and skipping right to a licensed PE.
Foundation - unknown age. Home had foundation problems that were noted at inspection several years ago and fixed. Homeowner has documentation. Appraiser noted possible foundation concerns with no details (I would assume he saw cracks that could have been the result of the previous repair.) Underwriter wants homeowner to have “certified” inspection of foundation. Homeowner has provided documentation from foundation repair company and that was not acceptable. Again, I recommended a licensed PE. Unsure of exactly what or who is “certifying” these mystery certified foundation inspections.
Roof (sort of) - Appraiser notes a stain at interior ceiling. Does not investigate further. Calls it a roof leak. Homeowner states that roof is 3 years old and that the stain was noted on their original inspection. Was the result of a leaking AC condensate pan. Has been repaired. Underwriter is calling for a “certified” roof inspection. He never visited the attic.
So my questions and concerns.
What are these mystery certifications. On the foundations, I do not feel that I can in good faith go out and charge these people to look at the foundation in a situation where the underwriter did not accept a licensed foundation company paperwork. I am afraid they would not like a general professional inspector’s report and force the client to pay further for a licensed PE. So I pass it off, though I think I am qualified.
Are these appraiser not overstepping their license and transgressing onto licensed professional inspector territory? They are commenting on visual clues with no investigation and without the proper license/training. Obviously they see a lot of homes and can claim general experience and knowledge. I doubt they would consider it cool or legal for me to start offering opinions on the values of the homes I inspect “because I see a lot of houses and have a good feel for that neighborhood.” If the underwriters / appraisers want these homes inspected should they not be hiring and or ordering the clients to hire LICENSED Professional Inspectors? Is this not a conflict of the licensing that is overseen by the state by the TREC?
3)Have others noticed this trend? Should we as a group perhaps inquire with the TREC? Personally, I see this as a pretty clear transgression of an unlicensed person performing and being paid for inspecting. But they are not licensed inspectors. They are not following the SoP. Etc.
What say you?