• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

Townhouse With Garage V Townhouse With Basement

Status
Not open for further replies.

jc723

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Maryland
I'm valuing a townhouse in a rural area that has an attached garage. The tax office in this area will often show the first level as a basement in the tax assessment information which I convert to living area since it is all above ground. In this townhouse, I've gone 5 miles and have to use a few townhomes without garages that have a basement. In making adjustments, do you ever use the full square footage in the "basement" homes to living area when determining value? I had an appraiser once tell me that would possibly do this.
 

Tom D

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
your confusing the word 'basement' used by a tax assessor. public officials may have their own lingo. so a basement is a basement, to you, as only defined in appraising. what seems of more value in the area, a garage or living area. i'm not sure i understand your question, but throw out 'other' people definitions. well, you might have to explain it in the addendum because the average person looking at public records is not getting an appraiser view of different areas, as defined for an appraisal. so there are 3 specific appraisal defined areas, basement, garage, GLA. there is no commingling of different areas, that is an appraisal abomination.
 

Walter Kirk

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
New Jersey
How do you determine that the ground level of a townhouse is GLA and not basement?
I have always wondered why this type of structure is always called a townhouse when they are built out of town.
 

residentialguy

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Minnesota
How do you determine that the ground level of a townhouse is GLA and not basement?
I have always wondered why this type of structure is always called a townhouse when they are built out of town.
Basements are typically all the same. It'll be any floor underneath the kitchen level and if it's finished it'll probably be a family room, and maybe a bed room, bath, etc plus utility room. I wouldn't be surprised if you're dealing with a split foyer design where the main entry takes you into a foyer that has 2 short stairs... One walks up to the main GLA level, the other walks down to the lower level.

You may have a tucked or built-in garage which is usually underneath the upper bedrooms. And that case you would have a partial basement. (the other part bring the garage)

Post a photo of it.
 

Tom D

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
How do you determine that the ground level of a townhouse is GLA and not basement?
I have always wondered why this type of structure is always called a townhouse when they are built out of town.
actually, the term 'row' house is a better description, but somehow the suburbs consider it a inner city denotation. resguy has it right. there is however some confusion cause we have row homes with the 1st level garage and family room, unfinished space with.utils & laundry totally above ground. i like the term 'functional utility'. the typical owner, or realtor, would call it the basement. i haven't seen any value difference between above ground level basement, and below ground level basements. the county gets more tax by calling it GLA.
however you count that space you have to be consistant with the comps. i would always count that as basement unless the GLA differnces were way off. but once in a while i have gone the other direction depending on the comps.
 

TRESinc

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Ohio
here is a good example



the bottom level is 100% above grade. when you walk in the door there are stairs going up, a small room to the side and the man door to the garage with car entrance on the other side.

garage.JPG

when they were built there was no option to have the small room on the ground floor finished from the builder. as time has passed some owners have finished that room into a den or office. while it is technically able to be considered GLA based on ANSI the market does not view it as such so it is called an above grade basement (ya, go wrestle with that term a while) even when finished.


this development was a great example of how the crash, and bad planning, affected people. they started building in the early 2000s and prices ranged from around $180,000 to over $400,000 depending on owner selected options and location. they were all attached row housing with 3 or 4 levels - ground floor as described above, up a full set of stairs to the living/dining/kitchen/half bath, another full set of stairs to the bedrooms/bath and on some models another full set of stairs to the master suite. the site area used to be a steel mill that was converted over for waterfront housing, and the majority of people would not want to venture out past the limits of the development after dark - not a great neighborhood in any direction.

map.JPG


as you can see there were some grand plans that never materialized. they built about 40-50% of the proposed units. the crash came and you could buy almost any unit in there for $80,000 to $125,000 and today they are all still sub-$200,000. no one wanted to be surrounded by the area that surrounded this development nor did they want to go up and down 2 or 3 full flights of stairs repeatedly all day and night.
 

Carnivore

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Well apparently things are done differently around the country. I use the pure definition of basement versus GLA. If its above grade its GLA. Period. So I view as an example a three level with the garage above the grade with a finished room(heat and air) as Garage and the other area(call it an office, BR or other) as GLA.

Apparently it seems that some of you call the finished area beside the garage on the lowest level as finished basement even though its all above grade. I cant imagine why anybody would do that. especially when ANSI is pretty clear on what's GLA and what's not. Now my area may be peculiar because all of the attached SFR I have observed on the lowest level have a entrance into the finished area next to the garage that's built in and this area was all above grade. Occasionally I have some where the lowest level was not all above grade and I segregated the area as finished basement with garage. I have had this in the same development and the units all look the same except for the grade.

Maybe I just read got a little confused when I read all the responses. That does happen occasionally at this forum.
 

Walter Kirk

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
New Jersey
I grew up in a two story townhouse with a ground level basement and the first house that I bought for myself was a townhouse with a ground level basement. The difference is the type of construction and the level of finish. I consider any ground level area which has a garage as well as the mechanical systems a basement no matter what a real estate salesman calls it.
 

residentialguy

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Minnesota
I grew up in a two story townhouse with a ground level basement and the first house that I bought for myself was a townhouse with a ground level basement. The difference is the type of construction and the level of finish. I consider any ground level area which has a garage as well as the mechanical systems a basement no matter what a real estate salesman calls it.
You don't consider the garage as basement area, do you?
 

Walter Kirk

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
New Jersey
I do consider the garage as basement area, the correct term is built in garage, sorry for the confusion
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at
AppraiserSites.com
Top

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks