1. Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premiere online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

Illegal Use - In-law Quarters

Discussion in 'General Appraisal Discussion' started by Hank Outlaw, Dec 27, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Hank Outlaw

    Hank Outlaw Member

    1
    Feb 17, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    Hello and (post) Merry Christmas,

    I'm appraising a ranch which has a septic permit on file for a 3 bedroom home. Trouble is that the home was built with an in-law quarters complete with a 2nd kitchen (R/O, DW, Fan), den/dining area, a full bath, and two rooms that sure do resemble a place to lay your head at night a/k/a bedrooms which both have closets and are 10x12 & 11 x 12+-. The in-law quarters is accessed inside through a "central" laundry room, and has an exterior entry on the side of the home. The listing agent put the property in the MLS as a 3 bedroom, 3 bath (due to the septic permit I think).

    I have found several closed sales with in-law or guest quarters, and tomorrow I'll check with the county (when they open back up from Christmas!) to see if any of them have a similar situation (more bedrooms than the permit for septic allows). Two homes within the subject's subdivision were found with an in-law quarters, but one was much more expensive as it is on a canal lot versus the subject's interior lot.

    My major concern is that the home can certainly be used as a five bedroom... until the sewer starts backing up!

    Do any of you esteemed colleagues have any past experiences with such a property? I'm having a hard time figuring out how to properly address the functional utility of the home, due mainly to the floorplan with two kitchens and the inability to find similar comps with two kitchens.

    TIA,

    Hank O.
     
  2. Richard Carlsen

    Richard Carlsen Elite Member

    0
    Jan 15, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Michigan
    I'm sure those of us who work where septics are common all see this from time to time.

    It is not our job to call for corrections unless it is specifically part of the assignment.

    Simply state what you see and if it is contrary to the information you have other data sources that cannot be reconciled with what you have observed, make the report subject to an inspection by the county for septic adequacy. Let the county, LO, UW and the HO fight it out.

    Remember: you onliest be de appraiser; you don't don't know nuttin bout dem septic tanks things.
     
  3. Otis Key

    Otis Key Elite Member

    0
    May 15, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    New Mexico
    State the facts and only the facts. ASS-U-M(e)ptions only put yourself in the scope of the the gun or anything else. Are you qualified to state that the septic is inadequate or that is intended to be used only for 3 bedrooms (? - never knew that bedrooms used a septic)? County shows the property is permitted for 3 bedrooms while improvements are constructed in such a manner as to allow the home to be perceived as a 5 bedroom.

    Many years ago I did numerous MH's (with tongues, axles & I beams removed after installation) that were new purchases. I would go out to the site after the home was set and the trench dug and septic and leach field installed but the dirt not filled in. I would send out the 442 stating that it was complete with the exception of the infill dirt around & along the septic system and field. Move on to other jobs. About 3 years ago a real estate broker called asking about the homes. I inquired as to why and stated that all I did was provide an appraisal. She stated that it was now an REO and there was a problem with the septic tank and she wanted to know who had installed them. I didn't know who that was but she should contact the dealership - she had and the owner wasn't returning the calls. She finally said that someone had taken a shotgun and blown a hole into the bottom out for "flow" and less backup. Hmmmmmmm

    I think they're still looking for that guy (I had wondered how come he closed down so quick).
     
  4. jay trotta

    jay trotta Elite Member

    14
    Feb 8, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Connecticut
    Hank

    gonna side with Richard, can't recall the last time (during my normal course of business) that I researched any septic tank permits and/or the capacity of such.....not my job.

    Experts in their field of expertise should only be used for those purposes in which they are qualified for..........do your hold a "Health Code License" for your area ??

    :ph34r:
     
  5. Hank Outlaw

    Hank Outlaw Member

    1
    Feb 17, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    North Carolina
    I must say that I'm surprised at the responses... No, I'm not qualified to determine the adequacy of the septic system or the ability to handle 5-6 people flushing versus 3-4, but after a phone call to the county dept. of environmental health, I was told that the house was not permitted for more than 3 bedrooms. So are you all telling me that these details don't matter? That we can simply overlook such matters, that they have no influence on value? I beg to differ! I'm not suggesting that we are responsible to determine that every inch of the property is as it should be, such as the quality / strength of the concrete slab that the house is built on. I have comments regarding that. But when you KNOW that a home is five bedrooms, but the septic is only designed for three bedrooms, HOW CAN THAT NOT BE AN ISSUE RELATIVE TO VALUE??? I'm not only trying to cover my rear by disclosing the improvements relative to the septic, I'm trying to figure out what impact it has on value.

    The easy way to complete the assignment is to simply ASSUME that all is well. Unfortunately, after the buyer moves in with 5-6 people living there instead of 3-4, and the sewer backs up, or the sewerage starts to pond in the back yard, I don't think that the buyer / homeowner and their attorney will accept my answer when I tell them that it was not relevant to my appraisal. Not to mention the fact that this "single family home" has two kitchens in addition to the extra two bedrooms which exceed the three bedrooms that the property has been permitted for.

    Thanks anyway,

    Hank O.
     
  6. CANative

    CANative Elite Member

    206
    Jun 18, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Explain the situation. State that there is no market data to support additional value for this illegal unit. Value the space similar to storage.
     
  7. Otis Key

    Otis Key Elite Member

    0
    May 15, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    New Mexico
    Hank - don't get upset - now you know what the situation is from the county point of view, it doesn't conform. Did the county say what they would do about such a situation?

    Like Greg said, report what you know, give no consideration to the illegal, over-built storage building and indicate that the kitchen & bath of that addition could have an adverse impact on the plumbing system for the property and that, from your understanding, the building does not conform and, based upon your analysis and information, you feel that it can't contribute more than a minimal amount (if that's whay you decide) due to the violations.
     
  8. Chris Colston

    Chris Colston Elite Member

    0
    Jul 24, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    I find it interesting that the county (or who ever) would restrict the number of bedrooms on the septic. It's usually the number of bathrooms.

    I lived, once upon a time, in a five bedroom house (originally 3, the garage was converted to a family room and two rooms above it). I didn't have a septic system...I had a holding tank (really yuk). I was restricted from adding any more than the 1 bathroom and no dishwasher either. Since it was just me in this big house it really didn't matter how many total bedrooms there were. (I used the upper rooms as my office).

    By restricting the number of bedrooms have they also restricted the market apeal by limiting the number of people who can live in the house? Do they care if there are 2, 3 or 4 people per bedroom?
     
  9. CANative

    CANative Elite Member

    206
    Jun 18, 2003
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    In my area, the perc test is always expressed in number of bedrooms ... "lot percs for a 2 bedroom home."

    More bedroom = more people = using more water.
     
  10. Otis Key

    Otis Key Elite Member

    0
    May 15, 2004
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    New Mexico
    Did you have AM radios only back then? :hug:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page