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Converted garage to be included in GLA?

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TJFerguson

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2008
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
North Carolina
Hey, did an inspection today on a property where owner had converted the single car attached garage to living area. The garage door is still operable but owner created a storage area 5' by 15', with a standard door entering into the new living space. The original exterior door has been taken off the hinges, there's carpet on the slab floor and a gas fireplace has been installed. I am a trainee and there's question to if this is to be included as GLA, since the garage door still operates and the floor is not at the height of the orginal structure. Would love to get others opinions that might clear this matter up a bit, for someone that's not sure. Thanks
 
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Lee in L.A.

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Is it permitted? I'll guess not by the sound of it. :shrug:
 

38Scarcello

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
I hope you took photos of the "conversion".....otherwise you will be going back to take some. Send your supervisor, since apparently he has nothing else to do.
 

Ken Youngkrantz

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
California
Does the same heating/Ac unit serve the converted area? No heat no GLA. Gas fireplace doesn't cut it. Does the rest of the house have AC? Does the conversion have AC? If not the same then no GLA.

Do you have comps that have the same type of conversion? Depending on the neighborhood it very well could be valued equal ( or close to equal) to GLA. I have neighborhoods where it would be. When you have eight people living in a three bedroom house another room is more valuable than a garage. If you can prove that with comps then put it on a separate line.
Probably would not give it quite as much value as if it was GLA. See what you can come up with for comps. IF you have no comps with similar conversion than it is a storage area.
 

Chris Colston

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Are garage conversions allowed where this is? I know some jurisdictions that do not allow them at all, which is why the garage doors are still in place...looks like a garage from the outside. Does the door still go up and down and can a car be placed in the space? If you can place a car and the floor has not been raised in the new room...then it is not GLA. The reason the floor in a garage is lower is to keep the noxious exhaust fumes out of the living area.

Has the A/C and/or central heat been extended to the area? Is there padding under the carpet or was it laid directly on the slab? Is the finaish similar to the rest of the house?

How does the market, in your area, respond to such a conversion? Is it typical? Can you find comparable sales with similar conversions?

In my experience, garage conversions are generally NOT GLA, but sometimes can be considered as "below the grade" living area and adjusted for in the basement area of the grid.

This is something that your supervisor needs to help you decide on. Your supervisor has seen the "problem", right?
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
You say there's carpet on the floor and a gas fireplace? Fireplace with a chimney -(just curious) What about the other aspects of the interior? Is the ceiling like the rest of the house? What about the interior partitions? Same as the house?

You may be forced to call it living area, because you can't say it's NOT living area. But, per square foot, it's not worth as much as the rest of the house.

It's cases like this that cause homes to be overvalued for mortgage purposes. Homes modified in this way sometimes go into foreclosure. The lender takes a beating because not many people want the home as converted, or if even they are willing to buy, won't pay as much for it as they would a home with same amount of original (unconverted living area).

These sorts of things create problems for the appraiser. If you are free to do whatever you want to, use a lower positive adjustment for comps that have less living area and have had no conversions from non-living area to living area.

For homes that have more living area and have not been modified in that way, use a higher negative adjustment. Just say adjustments are "appraiser's judgment" and see what happens. You'll probably lose your job, your mentor will lose the client.

Back when lenders kept their own loans, this might have worked. They really wanted to know what the home was worth. It did for me, back then.

When lending gets into picture, true value goes out the window.
 

Mike Kennedy

Elite Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
a gas fireplace has been installed.

most definitely a health & safety issue

suggest posting the location / municipality the subject is in .....

strongly recommend personal visits to each Building & Zoning Dept. (assuming one exists) in each muni you cover.

several issues

a. does zoning & building ordinance exist
b. does Z&B Ordinance require a BPermit for 1. conversion of an unfinished garage to unfinished storage (most probably not).

c. does Z&B Ordinance require a BP and a Cert of Occupancy for installation of a gas fireplace in a Garage ....... orrrrr unfinished storage room conversion......

most probably.

d. does the current "as-is" use of the site represent a legal (including legal, non-conforming, pre-existing) or ILLEGAL use of the site?

e. must you photo and describe said "improvements" in your report - ABSOLUTELY.

f. must you consider any cost to cure (either removal or BP/CO) - you bet. If BP/CO ARE required and none exist ......but would represent Legally Permissible, Tranferrable, Use when obtained.......appraise "subject to CO". Contributory Value (if any) will be demonstrate by the Market (actives, contracts, closed sales with same amenity).
 

Mike Siegfried

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
I'm curious what your supervising appraiser (who accompanied you) has to say, but other than that, Mike said it all pretty much. I know your on the East Coast, but I can pretty much tell from here that it's bootlegged. Trust me, you DO NOT want the liability or the guilt of passing on an unpermitted fireplace in the event of a fire. People die from bootlegged fireplaces and electric work all the time.

Mike
 

ZZGAMAZZ

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Also,

--was the garage when it was a garage attached to the dwellling unit? If not, and if the newely created living area is detached from the main unit it cannot be defined as GLA.

--does the jurisdiction require a garage? If the conversion was done with finalized permits, effectively eliminating the garage, the property would now be defined as "illegal" because it does not comply with current zoning standards that require a garage; and the re-build status of the property must be addressed; and the market-based value of the property would be declined because of the absence of a garage...more bugaboos than a lay person could imagine are inherent in this scenario.
 

Lobo Fan

Elite Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Mexico
There are a list of steps I follow when I encounter additions/conversions.

1. Is it legal per zoning? Some jurisdictions require garages?
2. Is it permanently heated and cooled? In most tract quality houses the furnaces and AC units are sized to be barely adequate for the original structure. Putting in a wall heater and a window AC unit doesn't get it.
3. Is it of equal or better quality to the main structure? Is the drywall textured and painted? Are the electrical outlets within code distances? Is there a carpet pad?
4. Were there permits pulled and was it inspected? In my market, this is not a killer, but it can be problematic for the lender. Verifying permit status can be a real chore sometimes.

In your case, it seems that it is not trye GLA, but not garage anymore either. I run into decision quandries most often with sunrooms. In my estimation, they are not GLA, but the installers and homeowners are convinced that it is.

This is one of the more difficult decisions an appraiser must make. I usually decide whether or not I am going to include it while I am making my sketch. That way I don't have to remeasure later.
 
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