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Drive-by with attic finished

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Debra

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Hello!

How do I count the attic finished on a drive-by? Do I take a percentage of what the county records show and add that to the square footage total?

The owner name I found is different than the name on the foreclosure request...The AMC told me not to worry about it-just do it? Comment? Thanks Debra :)
 

Farm Gal

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

First: How do you know it even HAS finished attic if the county records do not show finished attic? IS there a MLS record you can cite as a source? Lacking any other sources you might not want to assume attic finsh at all. Feeble sources (prior appraisal provided by the client) can be cited but state also that you take no responsibility for erronious data contained therein, and are using it at cleints request.

If in discussing the matter with the AMC, you cannot upgrade to a full inspection of the property you are left with two choices:

1) Estimate the finished area as best you can from the curbside view, and VERY carefully state how you arrived at the area you wound up with...
and very prominantly disclose that the report is a limited use (for that client only), restricted report.
or
2) Decline the order. I would make a quick call to my state board office and make inquiry as to how THEY suggest you handle the situation. since they are the ones who could lift your license if they don't like what you do.
 

Debra

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Hello!

Yes...the county records show an attic finished with 1000 sq. ft. in the home and 1000 sq. ft. in the attic finished. It is a foreclosure and they will not upgrade it and I'm not to call the owners... :? :)
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Debra,

I'm confused you state that the attic is finished 1,000 sf and that there is 1,000 sf in the house? If I read this correctly and correct me if I am wrong there are two ways that I am reading it.

1. The house is total 1,000 SF Gross buildling area and according to the county the attic SF is 1,000 total. Creating in essence a house with only an attic no main level. Therefore, you do not know the actual square footage of the main level which lies the problem of how big the house is.

2. The other way that I am reading into this is: the house is 1,000 sf of gross living area and the county states that the house has a finished attic but does not list the SF of the attic.

Please tell me which way to read your post. I know that you understand what you are saying but I am confused.

Ryan
 

Debra

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Hello!

I meant that the county records show the main floor to have 1000 sq. ft. and an attic finished of 1000 sq. ft. So...since I can't find comparables with attics finished? What GLA sq. footage do I compare it to-it's an exterior only appraisal...Thanks for replies Debra :)
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Debra --

Let's prioritize the things we do know and the things we don't know:

1) If the main floor GLA is 1,000 sqft, the finished attic-level above could only be 1,000 sqft if the house were a 2-story house;

2) Therefore, the attic if wholly finished cannot exceed whatever the forumula for the roof pitch says it is [see #4 below];

3) Therefore, from your knowledge and photos of the house, determine by the pitch of the roof and window(s) position (and dormers, if any) what you believe the sqft to be. [Only if you believe from your information that this space is finished.]

4) Apply this formula to try to determine what is finished space:

• Figure ceiling sqft at 84” vertical height from floor.
• Figure floor sqft at 60” vertical height on ceiling slope.
• Usable floor sqft may not exceed 2X ceiling sqft. in any case
• [If ceiling is not 84” high, indicate this in your appraisal report so
it’s part of the record as to why you didn’t allow any sqft.]

5) If you aren't sure from the information you have been able to obtain and work with, either state same in the 2055 or refuse to accept assignment because the AMC says they can't upgrade because it's a stealth assignment.

Best o'luck.

ADDED AFTER READING RYAN'S POST BELOW:

My suggestions are to help you deal with the house if it's a 1.5-story, not to help you decide what style of house it is. If that's not apparent, I can't help you.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Debra,

Larry has a pretty good way of completing this. I'll give you my opinion on another way.

Ok thanks for clearing it up for me. 1,000 SF on main level and county indicates attic as 1,000 sf Finished? Your asking how this can be and/or how to actually measure it from the exterior as usable area. One house I grew up in that was built circa 1920's had a second level that the rafters ran the width and length so you started with a really low ceiling at the outer edges to a full 8' in the middle. This is not typical but does happen this is how you can derive the same number for both levels.

First thing that I would do is actually drive by the subject and from the exterior see if it is a two story house or is actually a 1.5 story house (assuming this is 1900's to 1940's era house). If it is a two story house then the county may simply have made a mistake and it is supposed to be a two story then appraise as a two story.

However, if it turns out to be a 1.5 story house the second level could be an attic with finished square footage. As I have done this before on an exterior just lots of explanation as to what you do and disclose disclose disclose. Compare the subject to other properties with finished attic areas (1.5 story houses similar era). In the 2055 market grid, GLA line, enter the main level SF only. In a lower line (one of those two at the bottom filler lines) enter attic SF there. Do this to all your comparable sales. I do this and you really tend to see a difference on 1.5 story houses how the second level is adjusted for and perceived in the market as attic space (least in my market area not for all markets though).

Hopefully either larry or myself and/or if someone else posts here there will be enough info for you. 8)

Ryan
 

KD247

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Debra,

Ryan's idea to adjust for the attic on a separate line makes a lot of sense. If there aren't any comparables with finished attics, your estimate of the attic's living area doesn't need to be very precise. You could even refer to it only as "Finished Attic" with no reference to the size.

The question then, is how much do you adjust for the attic? I wouldn't use the Cost Approach because the lack of finished attics suggests that they aren't economically feasible. The only other way (that I know) to establish an adjustment would be to expand your search to include older sales (even if you need to go back several years to the last transfer of the subject) and/or to include other areas. (These sales can be used solely to calculate the adjustment; they don't necessarily need to be used as comparable sales.) To double-check, I like to run my ideas by a knowledgeable broker or two.

Based on your comment that you can't find comparables with finished attics, I would venture a guess that they are not highly valued by the market and that it will probably not be a major factor in this appraisal.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
I think you have received some good advice. As one who doesn't mind doing drive-by and hides I would offer one more suggestion.

Because of our State Board if I were asked to do this one I would be hesitant to accept it. If you are reasonably sure the tax records are incorrect and can not find another source (ie MLS) I would probably have to decline that one based on insufficent data. If they won't let you do a full inspection then just move to the next job. Sounds like you simply dont have anything you believe to be reasonably accurate and you have a lack of sales data too. Plus the owners names being different. This might be one that would be better to walk away from?

I have told a few lenders that my License is worth more than they were going to pay me for any one job.
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Debra, There are many older homes down in our city-center which have converted former attics in some sort of living area and they are deemed then as 1.5-story homes. This is really so because of the roof pitch aspect and the needed clearance of at least 5 ft. between floor and ceiling and within which the true countable floor area exists --- even if the floor extends further out from that area as they surely will. Best determination of all of that is of course by your own eyes. In this scenario you are denied that opportunity. There is often certain hype and overplay to one's definition of the word "finished" as appeal, quality of finish and very importantly the utility of and the access to that "finish". How many rooms is it ? Two beds ? Just one big bed room ? Did they plumb and duct water and heat to that level ? Is there a bath up there ? Is it just one big play and rec room where little people climb a ladder stairway to get to it ? Kids could run around all day up there and never bump their head, but how about a adult ? Would a visiting grandma and grandpa ever spend the night up there around the 4th of July or at Christmas time ? In the summer it just may be a sweat box up there while in the winter you could make ice cubes in a tray. If it truely is 1000 sf over a 1000sf main level then it might appear as a 2-story which simply was late in developing. Short of that, you are much less certain about its area and its function. Use good and like comps and it will work out fine. Best wishes.
 
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