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Montgomery County - New Construction And GLA

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A K

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Jul 31, 2013
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Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Maryland
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This home is 2.5 levels above grade. The upper level has four bedrooms and three bathrooms and the attic level is finished with landing area, additional bedroom and bathroom According to tax records, this home is 3,510 SF above grade.

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If you look at the structure description in tax records, you can see that the assessor calculates the living area as two above grade levels. The finished attic space is noted separately as 500 SF. Sometimes the attic level space is included in the living area calculations and if it is, the "Stories" will be say that it is 2.5 stories and one of the sections in the structure description will say 2.5 or 2.5B. So this home is actually 4010 SF on 2.5 above grade finished levels and not 3,510 SF.

It is important to look at the structure description for new construction to see if the finishes attic level space is included in the tax records "living area".
 

residentialguy

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Mar 24, 2009
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Certified Residential Appraiser
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Minnesota
It is important to look at the structure description for new construction to see if the finishes attic level space is included in the tax records "living area".
2.5 story homes, or any upper story next to the roof line can be tricky because you'r not sure how much of that finished area is actually legal area. Often the roof pitch comes down giving you only 30% usable area vs the floor area.
 

A K

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Maryland
2.5 story homes, or any upper story next to the roof line can be tricky because you'r not sure how much of that finished area is actually legal area. Often the roof pitch comes down giving you only 30% usable area vs the floor area.

I don't know why they report it separately like that. I am thinking because the structure size of a house with finished attic level and the exact same house without a finished attic level are actually the exact same size. One just has a modified space under the roof that was finished. Maybe they separate it out because actual SF of the attic is more reliable than estimating the attic space as .5, .25, or .75 times the base which is what they do in some other jurisdictions.

I am just pointing it out because I saw several reports where the appraiser did not seem to know that the attic level is often reported separately.
 

TJSum

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Nov 12, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Maryland
I have noticed that when they separate out attic areas, typically the square footage reported is not accurate compared to what really exists. Same for the 2.5 as you note, that is just a 1/2 estimate. With most homes, typically the "attic" GLA will not be of the same quality as the rest of the house, or the functional utility is limited (ceiling heights, access only through a bedroom, HVAC issues, etc.). For that reason most of the time I will not include attic finish as GLA, but rather show it as a separate line at the bottom of the grid (and explain). Many times they will show loft areas in townhomes in this fashion, the vast majority of them I see are only used as storage due to the very limited utility of them, and the market will give little to nothing extra for this space. The example you are showing may be the exception due to the configuration of the home, so it all depends on the circumstances. Long story short they need to show it somewhere and then explain.
 

A K

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2013
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Maryland
I have noticed that when they separate out attic areas, typically the square footage reported is not accurate compared to what really exists. Same for the 2.5 as you note, that is just a 1/2 estimate. With most homes, typically the "attic" GLA will not be of the same quality as the rest of the house, or the functional utility is limited (ceiling heights, access only through a bedroom, HVAC issues, etc.). For that reason most of the time I will not include attic finish as GLA, but rather show it as a separate line at the bottom of the grid (and explain). Many times they will show loft areas in townhomes in this fashion, the vast majority of them I see are only used as storage due to the very limited utility of them, and the market will give little to nothing extra for this space. The example you are showing may be the exception due to the configuration of the home, so it all depends on the circumstances. Long story short they need to show it somewhere and then explain.

That was definitely the case with the older housing stock. For the 50's / 60's cape COD style homes they always estimated the attic level as .5 times the base but a lot of them have the bump out to the rear and it is closer to .75 times the base. I think back in the day, Maryland only did .5 times the base to estimate the attic level.

The attic level space in recent construction is typically just as good as the other levels.
 
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