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FHA carriage house - This is a tough one

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Mary Fee

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
I have been asked to appraise a single family property for FHA. The subject is a converted carriage house (has own parcel number etc.). I have 3 questions.

1-Property is basically a detached 2 car garage with an one bedroom apartment upstairs. One of the garages goes with the apartment, the other belongs to the house that originally owned the garage. There is an easment filed with the City. Is this permissible per HUD? If so, what should I say in the report, if not, where do I find documentation to show the lender?

2-Does FHA require more than one exit for a property that is not ground level. The entire living area is above the garage and the only exits are the ground level exterior door and the garage door (which is about 2 feet from the exterior door)? There are stairs that lead to the apartment.

3-The property has a small loft area that is accessible only by ladder. It is a steel permanently attached ladder, but it is still a ladder. I was not going to count it in GLA, but I figured I was asking for opinions on the other things, why not ask your opinion on this.

Thank you for your assistance.

Mary Fee
Columbus, Ohio
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
:lol:
Mary you get to stretch your wings on this one...

#1: I would go straight to the horses mouth: call your local HOC tech support and get time date and who you talked to! If HUD OK's it you still will need to see a maintainance agreement, get an actual copy of the easment for your records, and don't forget to make sure there is some sort of maintainace agreement on the shared drive, even if all the docs state the owner of the carriage house pays all!

2. Again I'd go to HUD on this, but give you a thought: in a multi-story condo unit with interior doors the hallway is usually required to have fire suppression sothat the occupants have at least in theory adeqate time to exit incase of fire: does this structure have such devices? I am assuming that the stairs are located on the interior of the structure....

3. Loft not GLA: storage or 'other' - I personally wouldn't necesarily even call it 'finished attic' as that might overstate the utility of hte area: or if I did be REAL sure to explain the acess/ladder issue.

So this is opinion according to Lee Ann!
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Consider VC-1J "Excessive hazard from smoke, fumes, offensive noise or oders." Living over a garage where someone else gets to use half??? I would be concerned about ventalation of carb.monox. as well as the constant grinding sound of a garage door going up and down.

Then you have to disclose VC-6 due to the easements.

Let the LO know of these problems, then your problem of having to appraise it may go away. :wink:
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

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

My first question:Is the subject properly subdivided from the main dwelling??? You may want to review a survey. How is it that the owner of the main dwelling "owns" one of the garages below the subject?? Is it a condo and are the garages limited common elements? We need more info on this

Regarding exits. One is enough. Just make sure you have proper emergency egress from the bedroom. Think of your unit as similar to a second floor condo with stairs to the first floor. They only have one exit (front door) down the stairs to the ground level, the balance being out the windows. Regarding the garage, insure that it-both units-are sheetrocked (walls and ceiling) with fireproof drywall. The door from the garage to the stairwell to the second floor unit should be fireproof also. I'd get a cert on this because the garage has probably been painted and you can't tell if it's Type X sheetrock. The garage must be fireproofed if there are living areas above it (safety issue). Mel has made some good recommendations (VC6) in his post as have Lee Ann and Richard.

Regarding the loft, I wouldn't count it in the GLA either but based on what you've seen, value it separately in the Sales Comparison Analysis, similar to the way you do a fireplace, if it had additional value as a heated storage area/whatever??? Maybe? Maybe not? That's your call.

Ben
 

Mary Fee

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
Everyone,

Thank you for your assistance with this property. I know everyone is very busy (especially now-no time to sleep or eat) and cannot believe how helpful this forum is. I have been appraising for 15 years and have been reading this forum for what seems like forever. Thank you for everything I have learned over the years.

I called REAC and they tried to answer my questions, however, they said I needed to call the Philadelphia HOC (he gave me the telephone number). When I called HOC the gentleman said they didn't answer questions and that it was a job for REAC-he hung up on me before I could get his name or anything. oh well...

Ben-
The property has been subdivided. It was originally a large house with a 2 car detached garage. An apartment was built over the garage. The front portion of the lot contains the house with frontage on one street, the rear portion of the lot has the garage which has frontage on a named alley/street. The property was then divided into 2 parcels-the original home being one, the other being the garage w/ apartment which is now considered to be a single family dwelling and is zoned as such.

The garage has 2 bays, one of which has a permanent (recorded) easement that stays with the original home. They also have a permanent easement through the yard for access to and from the garage. (I have a copy of the eastment-however, not being an attorney-it reads like stereo instructions). This is something I have never encountered. The home is in an area where lots are typically small and home prices are a premium. The property is being marketed/sold as "a 800 SF 1 bedroom home w/ a 1 car garage". The courthouse recognizes the property has having a 2 car garage.

I guess, I am going to be writing numerous addendums on this one. If anyone has any other suggestions or wording it would be greatly appreciated. Have a great weekend.

Thank you

Mary
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

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

My opinion: I'd recommend a big fat reject. Inform the DEU about it and they'll probably come to the same conclusion.

Liability/insurance costs would probably be excessive, extra maintenance for the apartment owner to maintain the other garage, detrimental affect on future marketability due to the nuisance and aggravation, safety issues as to what's going on storagewise inside the garage that you don't have access to, etc.

It's not really a beneficial easement to the garage apartment property owner but to the adjoining owner.

Ben
 

Mary Fee

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
I just thought I'd let everyone know that I completed the appraisal today. I spent more than 4 hours writing addendums explaining the circumstances and the reasoning behind my thinking. I never could get a straight answer from HUD regarding the easement so I mentioned it several times within the report and in the addendum and included it on the VC sheet-I'm going to make the UW make the call. I have spent more time on HOLD and had more rude replys and hang ups than I ever have if you combine all my time in the business.

I will let you know what happens if you think it would be of interest.

Thank you for all your help.

Mary
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

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

Now you know why I recommended a reject. No one at HUD knows what to do...until you're reviewed. Then someone at that level will know what to do...and you'll get the ax.

You lost money doing the report, spending hours trying to write addendums to explain something that HUD will not fathom in the least until it's reviewed.


Ben
 

Mary Fee

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Ohio
Ben-

I do appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Everyone I spoke to at HOC and REAC said that the easement was not a basis for rejection. The most helpful gentleman said that basically if the property met code (it is only 12 years old), the building and code requirements for this area of town are extremelly stringent due to the fact that it is a historical district, then the easement was not a problem for HUD. I did mark VC-6 and required that the "Recorded easement for parking and ingress and egress be reviewed and approved by HUD". Maybe this was the right thing to do, maybe not. My intentions are honest. The property is definitely worth the purchase price, it is just a hard appraisal.

I would love to have passed on this one, however, if my reasons for rejecting a property are not acceptable (according to the reviewer/HUD) then I am just as axed as you put it.

This is a property I would have much rather never received, however, I chalk it up to a learning experience and if HUD chooses to ax me, then they have lost a very good appraiser. I have high business ethics, if the value is there, I report it, if the value is not there, I report it. I call for all repairs and I don't allow anyone to influence me. I will still be able to sleep at night knowing that I do my best.

I suspect that there were quite a few people that were unsure what to do for this particular dilemma. There were alot of views and few people other than you that offered responses (which I did appreciate).

The UW and her superiors were advised of the easement and they did not see a problem. The UW likened it to a condo on the floor above the common garage area, not a valid reason for rejection. I have no idea how this will play out, but sometimes you have to go for it, they aren't all cookie cutter appraisals.

Thank you again for your input.

Mary
 
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