Home buyer sues when appraiser misses leaky roof

Why suit was thrown out despite court's ruling

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It's been more than 13 years, but "the leaky roof" case in Washington state is still at the top of the list when it comes to defining and understanding the basic responsibilities of appraisers and inspectors. It's also become the prime ammunition used by defense attorneys in seeking restitution for their clients. A recent example surfaced a few months ago when a Seattle-area woman made an offer on an older one-story, weekend home in the Cascade Mountains. It was more updated than the typical cabin -- insulated floors, energy-saving windows and a new septic system. She did not have the home inspected by an accredited home inspector. However, when she discovered the roof leaked, she began to mount a case against the appraiser. Should real estate appraisers really be held accountable if their report does not disclose a leaky roof? An important case on the issue -- Schaaf v. Highfield -- centers on the sale of a home in Bremerton, Wash., that had a leaky roof. John Sc...