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Unpermitted Main House

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MrSpokaneValue

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Washington
So, here's a new one for me and I thought that I'd ask for some other input to see what you all think...

I'm working on an appraisal for a home on acreage, and the current and prior MLS listings show the age of the house being WILDLY different. One says 1989, the other says 1950. The County doesn't have ANYTHING showing the age of the home. Not only that, but after pulling all the field cards for the property, they don't appear to show that the home was ever permitted in the first place! I even had the Building Division pull all historic permits for me and the only building permits they show are for 2 manufactured homes that are no longer on the property. To me, it looks like it was built somewhere around the 1920's with a small addition added later on. There is even the chance that it was a utility building that someone converted into a residence at some point years ago. There's really no way to tell.

The County is able to issue "after-the-fact" permits for structures, but it is a long and complex process and in the end, no matter what the year of original construction, the home would have to be completely brought up to 2015 International Residential code. I say, good luck with that!

Now, I've informed the client of the situation and they're sorta stuck on what to do going forward. As it sits, the home is an illegal residence. I've scoured the MLS and haven't found any mention of a property selling with an illegal main house, so I don't even have anything to compare it to or to try and extract some sort of market reaction for the illegal structure. I've called all of my realtor buddies who service the area and none of them have ever dealt with or sold a property with an illegal main dwelling unit.

Thoughts? Should I just complete the appraisal "Subject To" the County issuing a satisfactory after-the-fact permit for the residence?
 

glenn walker

Elite Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
It does not mean it's illegal *** for gods sake's most of the country did not even have building departments in the twenty's and some even today don't. Use some common sense ... In those days a person went out and built BUT to say it's illegal is denoting that something unlawful happened , no permits found that's fair but illegal :)
 

J Grant

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Many older houses may have been built without permits or built before permit records were kept...is the house taxed? If it is taxed it is recognized that it exists by the county/city, if it is within setbacks and legal size etc I may be weird but I don't see the problem. Appraisers normally don't pull permits on main house they appraise they assume it was permitted or legal when built, but normally year built shows up on public records.

You call it a main house..is there a second building on the lot? What does the RE agent know about the property (able to talk to them?)

I suppose one solution is estimate year built, , comment on if construction looks workman like with no visible health or safety issues present, that due to unknown age/older age, permits or original building specs unavailable and leave it up to lender if they want to fund it or not.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Here's a trick I learned early on. Pull the lid off the tank on the toilet. There may be a date stamped on the under side and that might give you a clue as to the year built. I also concur that not finding a permit does not mean the improvements are illegal.
 

Meandering

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
Pennsylvania
The use of the land is residential, a legal permitted use.

The house is not a criminal. It is not illegal, simply unpermitted.

You did not say if the county was taxing the house.

If they are taxing it, they know about it.

If they know about it, it might be grandfathered.

If it is grandfathered, it might not need to be brought up to code.

So start again.

legality and legal consequences are beyond your licensing level.

Nobody advertises illegal anythings for sale, least the "man' finds out.

If all homes, even grandfathered ones must be brought to code, you can estimate a cost to cure, which,
can be performed by the current owner, or,
be negotiated as a price reduction to a new buyer.

Depending on how your market reacts to other things that need curing, you might need an adjustment, or you might not need an adjustment, if, its a normal cost of ownership.

So find out if the home is being taxed. Start there.

.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
As it sits, the home is an illegal residence.
There were few places with zoning prior to WWII & I bet it was built long before regulation was in effect . Discuss same with local planning department.
 

jay trotta

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Connecticut
Lots of Definitions of what is; Legal/Illegal check you State Building Code, when did they become existing ?
Some Building Depts. in some areas were active in the 1900 or earlier; Building Codes grew over time, some were giving and some were not; It Depends
Over the Past 15-20 years the Codes have become more restrictive, because of Zoning Compliance issues and therefore, more restrictive for Code Compliance issues.
States in many instances Exceed National and in my area, Municipalities exceed State.

This all pertains to the East Coast, over on the West Coast......dunno / Fruits / Nuts and Builderzzz, I spose it could be interesting:shrug:
 

biker4ever

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
I would pick the one with more similar Comps, give the other ADU slight value if you have a comparable with an ADU and explain... I once worked in a small City where County did not have the age of the home I was appraising. I went with what the Sellers told me and explained that County confirmed they did not have any data. In the end, I explained I did not go with age adjustment but more with quality and condition...
 

Mark K

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Indiana
The County doesn't have ANYTHING showing the age of the home. Not only that, but after pulling all the field cards for the property, they don't appear to show that the home was ever permitted in the first place!

What year did your county start issuing permits?

and

What is your normal procedure for homes built prior to that year?

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of homes in this area that have no permit. IN THIS AREA, the existence of a permit or lack thereof has no effect on the value of these homes. And yes, the Assessor has cards and info on all of them. The assessor assigns a "year built" of 1926, the year they started keeping detailed records, for any home built prior to that date.
 
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