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Old 02-25-2012, 10:55 PM
 
54 posts, read 313,142 times
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So we have an accepted offer on a house in Northport, and trying to agree on the contract has turned into a headache...

Single family cape, current owners removed the stairs to the basement and think they shouldn't have to put them back! We are 90% sure that when the bank appraiser comes, he's going to want them, or no mortgage. The basement is more than 1/2 way above grade, and has a separate outside entrance and most windows are fully above grade. RE agent is telling us it shouldn't be a problem/required considering the many basements that only have Bilco doors & no internal egress - I disagree, considering both our mortgage broker & attorney's opinions.
Regardless, we really don't want the stairs, we would rather have the closet space (but we wont have any qualms if they need to be installed). But we need to come to an agreement now to have in the contract to protect ourselves for when the appraiser does say they are required. Seems like a catch 22 since no one knows what the appraiser will say, and by that time the contract is already in place... And the sellers are claiming the stairs will cost $5,000 to install - really?!

Anyone know the specific code requirements for internal egress to the basement for the Town of Huntington and/or Village of Northport? And BTW, which has more "authority" - town or village rules?
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:29 AM
 
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Your probably right....I think the code is that 2 means of egress is needed for the basement if its a living space.

On another note...adding stairs is not $5k. lol. At the most its 2 men for 2 days + material. Probably around 2k.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:33 AM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
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You need two forms of egress from a basement. The Bilco doors will count as one, but the other windows won't count just because they are above grade, they must meet the definition of egress window (it will be in the code, but it's much bigger than a regular window). I'm really not sure if you need egress into the actual house, but regardless, if the appraiser makes it an issue, they will have to put in stairs or an egress window. Egress window runs $3,000-$4,000. Stairs? Sounds like they are pricing out some pretty fancy stairs.

I don't see the difficulty of putting this in the contract. You'll both have to agree to who will foot the bill, but I have a hard time believing an attorney cannot come up with proper verbiage...ie "any costs associated with requirements to bring the dwelling up to code for the sale are the responsibility of seller".
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Inis Fada
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What needs to be removed or relocated to install the stairs? It sounds liker the stairs were remove to make way for something else. The homeowner may have had an estimate for oak stairs. Also, handrails would need to be installed to be to code.
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
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I will offer the following albeit from another towns' jurisdiction. IF the code calls for 2 methods of egress, in all likelihood the bank will never allow you to obtain a mortgage unless the stairs are in place as it will be a code problem. The sellers will be required to put them in place as a condition of sale. The only other alternative is for money to be placed in escrow for the stairs to be returned. If it is an, as is, cash sale you might be able to get away with it. but I seriously doubt it.

I would call both justifications and check with them, but I honestly doubt that only an outside form of entry will pass anywhere these days. So I doubt that you will have to worry about it.

Your attorney can word the contract that the house must be delivered with no apparent codes violations. I would also make the bank aware of the problem to be sure they "see" it. The sellers will be forced to either replace them or have to go through another contract only to find the same thing. In small things the banks might overlook it but they will never miss a set of stairs.

Last edited by nuts2uiam; 02-26-2012 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:29 AM
 
1,377 posts, read 4,974,474 times
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maybe I missed this in the origional post........
but is the basement even finished?

if it is... are teh windows large enough for eggress? if you're half above grade, i would guess its possible it is.

I could see an agrument iwth the town that if its completely finished, and not connected to teh house maybe they'll claim you've created a 2 family house.

regarding 5K for stairs........ hard to say how much it will cost, it really depends on what is there, needs to be removed, and needs to be finished off to put them back, for all we know there is plumbing and electric running where you now need to cut a hole. the stair's themselves can be bought for probably $500
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:31 AM
 
54 posts, read 313,142 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twingles View Post

I don't see the difficulty of putting this in the contract. You'll both have to agree to who will foot the bill, but I have a hard time believing an attorney cannot come up with proper verbiage...ie "any costs associated with requirements to bring the dwelling up to code for the sale are the responsibility of seller".
It isn't a matter of what/how we try to negotiate the contract, it's having the sellers agree... They're in this delusional world that their house that sat on the market for almost 2 years without any previous offers is worth more than it really is. That and the fact that they've already relocated to Florida... They don't think they should have to invest another penny into it! I'm not understanding how they think their house would apply for any mortgage, to anyone - without those stairs. And yes, I'd love to know what kind of basement stairs cost 5 grand!

Anyone know, when the bank appraiser comes, what they look for? Do they critique things similarly to our engineer's inspection? More or less detailed?
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Old 02-26-2012, 09:45 AM
 
54 posts, read 313,142 times
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The basement is fully finished... I think their kids took over the downstairs and they removed the stairs for privacy from what I understand.

I've tried looking on the TOH website for the code guidelines but can't seem to find an appropriate match... don't think I'm searching correctly.

Funny thing is their RE agent even tried so far as to include in the rider to the contract that not only are they not obligated to install the stairs, but if our chosen lender doesn't approve the mortgage we are required to immediately apply to the lender of their choosing! Don't know what "seller's market" planet they're all living in, but it has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth!
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Inis Fada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R&J1016 View Post
The basement is fully finished... I think their kids took over the downstairs and they removed the stairs for privacy from what I understand.

I've tried looking on the TOH website for the code guidelines but can't seem to find an appropriate match... don't think I'm searching correctly.

Funny thing is their RE agent even tried so far as to include in the rider to the contract that not only are they not obligated to install the stairs, but if our chosen lender doesn't approve the mortgage we are required to immediately apply to the lender of their choosing! Don't know what "seller's market" planet they're all living in, but it has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth!
Is there a bathroom or anything resembling a kitchenette in the basement?
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Old 02-26-2012, 10:41 AM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
21,144 posts, read 31,802,099 times
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Wow....if the basement is finished I can guarantee you're going to have problems. I never thought to ask that like Chris did.

Honestly it sounds like this house is going to be a hassle. I hope you have a good attorney that you trust to go over the contract.

House on been on the market 2 years, unrealistic sellers, possibly problems with financing....good luck.
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