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Appraising Garden Level Condo

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Steven Spychalski

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Hello:

I am currently appraising a garden level condo and want to be sure to correctly measure the GLA and room count. All rooms are below grade (2 Bedroom, 2 bath, aprox 1200 square feet). I have several other comps for garden level units.

Is the room count ZERO? Is the GLA ZERO. Do I list all rooms under "below grade rooms" or do I count the rooms and GLA as usual and include in the addendum that I deviated from the norm.

Inquiring appraisers want to know. Thanks in advance for your helps!
 

Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
8)

What you are dealing with may be somewhat unusual but the techniques are not. The room count is whatever the total is, "Below Grade". Since there is no(apparently) above grade rooms, you simply note such and list all as below grade. Then you have # of rooms of below grade living area. Condos are really getting to be fun. Blows the hell out of the definition in Fannie mae and the AI's real estate dictionary. Personally, I have seen about 20 variations of condos. Key point is that a Condo is a form of ownership, not archetecture.

Since you have plenty of comps just do your best work and submit it. Boy! Would I love to be a fly on the wall of the UW when that hit's Mis Smarties/Mr. Knowitall's desk :twisted:

Don Clark
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
The very last two sentences of the last paragraph in Fannie Mae's (effective 6/30/02) guidelines Section 405.06-Gross Living Area fits your situation. "The appraiser may deviate from this approach (below grade areas) if the style of the subject property or any of the comparables does not lend itself to such comparisons. However, in such instances, he or she must explain the reason for the deviation and clearly describe the comparisons that were made." So in your situation I would list the entire GLA on the standard GLA line, same for the comparables that also garden level, etc. In one of the other blanks, maybe under site type in garden level for your subject and each comparable that is garden level. And then lots and lots of explanation in your addendunm to the report. If you had a model match that was above ground, then you would have a line for an adjustment (if the market reflects any difference in levels). And again lots and lots of explanation.
 

Steven Spychalski

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Thank you for the great advice. I will list the exeption in yet another addenda, and treat the GLA and room count as I would for an above grade unit. I'll keep you posted if the UW has a fit.

Thanks again!
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Stephen,

Do it and list it on the condo form as you would any above-grade condo and adjust for a "level" premium, if there is any.

Forget the below grade approach, it's not going to work. I have one of the same type units that I rent to a tenant. Just try telling the taxing authority that you want it valued as a "finished basement" and see how far that gets you.... :lol: :lol: Mine's about 3' into the ground but entrance is off a below grade foyer to 3 other units. FHA approved project too....



Ben
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Ditto....do it as GLA (which is is). Just be sure to explain that it is a "garden level" condo and you will be fine. If you do it the other way the underwriter will go nuts!
 

slacker

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2002
Ditto....do it as GLA (which is is).

Ooops, I thought Mike said Disto!. Nevermind!


I stay away from the below grade, list all the rooms on level one, and describe as a garden condo. Save yourself the ink on the addenda.
 

davidmichaels

Freshman Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2002
on a similar note what about bi and tri-levels?? Do you count the below grade portion as main GLA or below grade. And then the confusion starts if your subject is a tri-level w/ no bsmt and one comp is a tri with an actual bsmt , or four level....

Ive seen bis and tris done both ways with some appraisers splitting up the GLA and some counting all on the GLA line. Whats correct??
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
David:

I have with VERY CLEAR disclosure (like all bold caps) in the block immediately below the market grid, explained that for comparative purposes the GLA is being included on a single line -or as appropriate given the orientation of the struture(s)- with further explanation/information attached.

Then I have narratively explained in an addendum where the levels and above grade below grade breakdown is, my logic in getting as close to 'equal' comparisons as possible, and then explained that for comparative purposes my market does not recognise level differences in multi-level units of that sort.

This was in fact permitted somewhere in a dark ages Fannie Mae advisory or explanation, and is the only reasonable solution I have ever seen, other than using the blank gridlines at the bottom of the grid to accomplish nearly the same thing.

What mattters is that you make it apparent that youa re not trying to sweep anything under a rug, and that you are to the best of your ability using reasonable methods of comparison!

If the reader can follow your logic, but tries to hang you on fine points: you always have the option to point out that it's a FORM and square pegs can market even if they don't fit smoothly into round pigionholes :roll:

Better yet offer to write a narrative report that would eliminate the problem, but warn 'em that the fee just tripled :twisted:
 

Steven Spychalski

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Illinois
Thank you all for the solid advice. Now I pose the same question, but this time with duplex unit (one floor above grade, one below).

I am aware you are able to deviate from the standards of GLA with proper reason (as when appraising a garden level condo that is 100% below grade), but would it be irresponsible to deviate in the case of a duplex?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

Steve
 
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