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  #1  
Old 01-25-2007, 11:08 AM
Alexx Alexx is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
State: Florida
Professional Status: Certified Residential Appraiser
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Default Gross Living area - Help!!!

Opinions would be greatly appreciated...

I have been contacted to do a report for a lady who is in the middle of a divorce. The husband is keeping the house and paying the wife off with equity. The husband has already had an appraisal done on the house, and the wife is not happy with the numbers. She believes the husband and appraiser are "buddy,buddy". So here I come in, to do an appraisal for the wife to check the first appraisers number.

Here's my problem: They have a two car garage and half of the garage is heated and cooled. Let me see is I can paint a mental picture: picture a 20 x 20 two car garage, right in the middle just behind the automatic door opener they have constructed a wall which splits the garage in two. Half of the garage is still a garage with a garage door that opens and closes. The thing is you can't park a car in it because it is 10x20, it has become a storage area.

The other half has been finished and it is used as a extra living/laundry area. It has one air duct from the conventional heating system, it also has a window unit.

Should I count this as GLA?

The finish in the finished garage area is the same as the rest of the house except in one respect; it has hard board in place of sheetrock. The floor finish is tile, it has one air duct.

Here is a list of things that classify is as gross living area: it's finished, heated and cooled, has a light and fan fixture, it is directly accessable.

Here is a list of things that don't classify it as gross living area: the floor of the finished area is lower that the rest of the house (there is a step down into the room, but the area is not below grade), the finished walls are panel board instead of hard board, no natural light can enter the area because the small window is filled with a window a/c unit, privacy is limited because the washer and dryer are located in the room and to get to what's left of the garage one must go through the finished part of the garage.

This is a pretty big deal, if this area is counted as gross living area it will affect the value of the house. I will have to use comparable properties that have larger square footage counts. Then I have to adjust for functional obsolecence because of the garage.

The thing that gets me is that every single house that I have been to that has a two car garage, the garage has stayed unfinished. It is not typical for market participants to finishout only half of their two car garage.

So, this is what I think I am going to do because I believe that this is least extreme measure, but is it correct, idunno: take the base square footage of the subject property and use that number to find comparable properties, also keep the garage as a garage. Then I have two choices, I could either add the cost to construct the living area in the garage to the comparable properties, or I could subtract the cost it would take to remove the finished area from the garage so that it functions as a two car garage again.

Input is greatly appreciated, I wish all homeowners knew about the principle of conformity.
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2007, 11:13 AM
Tony Blackburn's Avatar
Tony Blackburn Tony Blackburn is offline
 
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I would do a cost-to-cure to return the garage to it's original use. Problem solved.
  #3  
Old 01-25-2007, 11:25 AM
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Mike Kennedy Mike Kennedy is offline
 
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State: New York
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Skinner
Opinions would be greatly appreciated...

Should I count this as GLA?

The thing that gets me is that every single house that I have been to that has a two car garage, the garage has stayed unfinished. It is not typical for market participants to finishout only half of their two car garage.
HBU based on Legally permissable use; are building permits and C.O.'s required for either full or partial garage conversions. Building/Zoning Code permit GLA exposed directly to garage fumes???? (even via open laundry area)

"atypical in market" .........most likely indicates an illegal conversion ......with HBU as a garage. Whether illegal or legal, or BP/CO not required........appears from your posting .......the Market indicates atypical FOS.

Cross your T's and dot your I's.
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  #4  
Old 01-25-2007, 11:33 AM
Walter Kirk Walter Kirk is offline
 
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I think that you have answered your own question when you said that it is not a typical situation. Since the floor and walls are different and since it isn't typical for the market don't include it in GLA and use a small cost to cure for removal of the partition.
  #5  
Old 01-25-2007, 12:15 PM
Pat Butler Pat Butler is offline
 
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Misc ramblings....

One issue that I look at with these unusual areas is how it fits into the general floor plan of the house. For example, let's say that you DO include the garage area as GLA and it creates a total GLA of the entire house of 2,000 square feet. Now compare your '2,000' house to other 2,000 square foot houses and you'll likely find that the other houses that were originally designed as 2,000 sf houses have that living area nicely apportioned throughout the entire house. Your subject would be a house that was maybe originally designed as a 1,600 sf house with a large box (garage) added onto it.

This is an area where definitions get in the way. Irrespective of how it's labled (GLA, or not) doesn't matter so long as its value is properly attributed. So tell your client not to be overally concerned about whether or not the total GLA of their house includes, or doesn't include, this number so long as its value has been considered.

These garage conversions are usually more different from the rest of the living area than what is initially apparent, and that usually keeps them out of the GLA category. Consider these factors-

* What about insulation. Is it similar to the rest of the house, especially in the ceiling?
* What did they do on the ceiling- drywall?
* Are there an adequate amount of electrical outlets (NEC, I think, requires outlets every 6', AND, I think, requires GFI outlets in garages anyway)
* Is the foundation construction similar to rest of the house? (our area allows floating slabs for garages, though you can't tell the difference without digging down), so most garages cannot be converted into living area.
* AND if part of the garage is still used for car storage then many building codes will require proper sealing from exhaust infiltration between the two sides of the garage. This might require fire rated drywall, caulking, and sometimes even requires a difference in elevation between the part used by vehicles and the living area. Sounds like your 'garage' already has that step-down between the original house and garage. Now, they've eliminated that, so the car exhaust can freely flow into the other part of the garage.

I'd bet that your garage does NOT qualify as living area.
  #6  
Old 01-25-2007, 12:22 PM
Alexx Alexx is offline
 
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State: Florida
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Thank you for all of your suggestions. About the car exhaust: the left over garage area isn't large enough for a car, the area is 10x20, 20 being the width and 10 the length.
  #7  
Old 01-25-2007, 12:26 PM
Mark A Rewbury Mark A Rewbury is offline
 
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Count the garage as a double car garage. It's usally a wash doing it either way, however this is a divorce appraisal and they can rip you a new one on the stand. I would find out if this extra room is legal.
  #8  
Old 01-25-2007, 12:51 PM
Alexx Alexx is offline
 
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I called the county and they said could not see where the owner pulled a permit to construct that room. So, no they did not have a permit to construct that room in the garage.
  #9  
Old 01-25-2007, 12:51 PM
stefan olafson stefan olafson is offline
 
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Disclose and Explain. Investigate the legality of the conversion, is it on the books at city hall? Was there a building permit?

Write up a description of the neighborhood and in there explain that most homes have similar style and size garages used for car storage. Disclose if the present use is a legal use. Quite frankly the cost to cure sounds like an hour with a hammer and crowbar and it's back being oversized storage. Are 10' x 20' garages common in the market? I guess new model economy cars would probably fit?

Cover your bases as divorce attorneys can be very nasty!
  #10  
Old 01-25-2007, 01:01 PM
Mark A Rewbury Mark A Rewbury is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Skinner
I called the county and they said could not see where the owner pulled a permit to construct that room. So, no they did not have a permit to construct that room in the garage.
There you go.
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