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The Garage Apartment

Discussion in 'General Appraisal Discussion' started by Joe Gomberg, Dec 4, 2003.

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  1. Joe Gomberg

    Joe Gomberg Sophomore Member

    0
    Jul 8, 2003
    So I got a call from the bank on a property that was recently appraised. The property has a quarters or garage apartment over the garage. They want an addendum stating that the owner's family member lives there?! I know this isn't a huge request but it still strikes me as odd. If there is not a tennant who lives there (no rent being collected), this doesn't seem to have anything to do with market value, approaches to value, etc, therefore why should it be in the appraisal? I don't have any proof someone lives there or not, other than it looking occupied. Who knows if the owner is lying about who really lives there. Better yet who cares?? The guy at the bank said they would not make the loan if it were occupied by a tennant... since when does the bank supersede an owner's rights to property?

    Maybe this makes perfect sense to someone out there but I have never run across it and naturally it means doing work for no compensation. I'm done ranting though..
     
  2. Pamela Crowley (Florida)

    Pamela Crowley (Florida) Elite Member

    3
    Jan 13, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Retired Appraiser
    State:
    Florida
    Well....

    I do understand their problem as an 'investment' or 'income' property falls into a different category of loan typically with lower LTV maximum and higher interest rate. I don't blame them at all for wanting an answer to that question.

    Problem is, they're trying to get an answer from the wrong person. The appraiser is NOT the occupant 'police'. I would very nicely let them know that "I have no authority to go knock on someones door and demand their ID and really can't do that."

    I don't know who they might get to do this but it wouldn't be me!!!

    I've had orders that were suspicious and if I didn't 'catch' the occupant while I was there and find out it's really a tenant instead of the the owner, if I do think the owner is not the occupant, I do not mark who the occupant is and state that I'm not sure if the occupant is actually the owner or a tenant. It's up to the lender to decide what they want to do about that. It's the lenders problem to solve, not the appraisers.

    IMO
     
  3. Richard Carlsen

    Richard Carlsen Elite Member

    0
    Jan 15, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    Michigan
    We have oddles of these up here in the north country. And I've had the very same thing asked of me: give them an addendum stating that the quarters are used by a family member. My answer was to give them an addendum that said it did not appear that the quarters were occupied at the time of my visit and that the owner stated it was not rented. They came back and wanted me to state that it was being used by a family member. I told them that I could not say that because I did not know that to be a truthful statement. I told them that if they wanted that kind of a statement, let the owner so certify at closing. They had an addendum that said all that I could say about the quarters.

    One thing I've learned about these is to never, never, never ever call them an apartment unless they are rented. If they are, I decline the order (don't do income properties). They are called guest quarters. UW's seem to have a lot less problem with the term guest quarters as opposed to apartment. If it is not rented, I really don't care what the owner does with it. If he wants to rent it out after I leave, that is between him and the mortgage company but it is not my problem. However, at every house that has one of these "guest quarters" the question is specifically asked at the time of the data visit, "Is it rented out?" Whatever I do after that is based on the response of the homeowner to that question.
     
  4. Joe Gomberg

    Joe Gomberg Sophomore Member

    0
    Jul 8, 2003
    I just don't like going back and making addendums when they are not justified in the first place.

    Good tip about the quarters vs. garage apt. I'll keep that in mind.
     
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