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Old 10-07-2019, 06:15 PM
 
167 posts, read 88,103 times
Reputation: 89

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Purchased an Italianate brownstone style home with vinyl siding at the bottom of a hill. The "basement" is a walk-out basement with the front entrance of the home at the lowest point of the hill. From the front of the home, it looks as if the walk-out basement is the first "story", however less than 20% of that level is above grade. The rest of that floor goes underground as you walk toward the back of the house (as it enters the slope of the hill).

For all intents and purposes, this is a "two-story" with a walk-out basement. An old survey lists it as a "Three Story" but inspectors and an appraiser consider it to be a two-story home with a basement and recommend getting a new survey done. Other homes on the opposite side of the street (the hill continues to slope downward) are able to have a basement with three full stories above it (their walkout basement entrances are at the back as you would expect).

The area of this city has a three story limit. My home is the only one that has no basement below the "walk out basement".

Any insight on this sort of phenomena?

Say I wanted to add another level to make it a "true three story" or
add dormers and a mini mansard roof on top of the home to make it two and a half stories?


If I wasn't able to add another story or half story, the digging out "another basement" would make it a cellar because it would be completely be underground right?

This is in NY/Lower Hudson Valley/Westchester area. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
9,911 posts, read 19,201,450 times
Reputation: 8937
Ask the Planning or Building Department in your area, it isn't so much what a bunch of random internet folks think as it is what the folks who would have to approve or not approve it think.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:28 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,284 posts, read 63,677,629 times
Reputation: 33740
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatCareerGuy View Post
Does a "Walk Out" Basement count as a "Story"?
No. It absolutely does not...
and regardless of how well it might have been remodeled to serve as living space.
(btw, this Q pops up 3 or 4 times a year here)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotzcatz View Post
Ask the Planning or Building Department ...
Good suggestion. How about asking the folks even higher up (where their standards are sources)?
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Columbia SC
9,387 posts, read 8,117,551 times
Reputation: 13153
Some states say that if the basement is finished and has ingress and egress (meaning a door) one one side, it can be counted in the square footage of the house.

Here's what mortgage giant Fannie Mae has to say on the basement matter: "Only finished above-grade areas can be used in calculating and reporting of above-grade room count and square footage for the gross living area. Fannie Mae considers a level to be below grade if any portion of it is below grade, regardless of the quality of its finish or the window area of any room."
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Old 10-08-2019, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,120 posts, read 59,357,181 times
Reputation: 33096
Quote:
Originally Posted by johngolf View Post
Some states say that if the basement is finished and has ingress and egress (meaning a door) one one side, it can be counted in the square footage of the house.

Here's what mortgage giant Fannie Mae has to say on the basement matter: "Only finished above-grade areas can be used in calculating and reporting of above-grade room count and square footage for the gross living area. Fannie Mae considers a level to be below grade if any portion of it is below grade, regardless of the quality of its finish or the window area of any room."

But..... A finished basement, equivalent finish to above grade living area, ALWAYS adds value to a property.
I.e.:
House #1:
The King model.
2400 SF above grade.
4 bedrooms. 3.5 baths.

House #2:
The (same) King model.
2400SF above grade.
1000SF below grade, of similar or equal quality to the above grade property.
6 bedrooms. 5.0 baths.

Equivalent land value for both.
Equal exterior elevations.
Equal condition and maintenance and decor.

Which house is larger?
House #2

Which house will appraise at a higher value?
House #2
Which house will sell for a higher price?
House #2


See..... You don't get the basement in House #2 for free just because that level "doesn't exist" at Fannie or Freddie or at the Dew Drop Inn during Happy Hour. I.e., as fun as the banality of an argument that Fannie or Freddie imply that the basement level doesn't exist, and that the two homes are the same size, it is clear that people spending their money with their eyes on reality believe differently.
And, Fannie will back the loans without worry.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:13 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
29,284 posts, read 63,677,629 times
Reputation: 33740
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
...the banality of an argument that Fannie or Freddie imply that the basement level doesn't exist...
Now Mike, you know better than that.

The issue is far more about the consumer protection aspect of things...
eg: how that additional or accessory space is described in the advertising let alone in the minds of naive buyers.
The current popularity of square foot prices in the marketing material only exacerbates it all.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,120 posts, read 59,357,181 times
Reputation: 33096
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
Now Mike, you know better than that.

The issue is far more about the consumer protection aspect of things...
eg: how that additional or accessory space is described in the advertising let alone in the minds of naive buyers.
The current popularity of square foot prices in the marketing material only exacerbates it all.
But, that living area exists and carries value in the market.
Itís undeniable.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:38 PM
 
7,356 posts, read 4,084,293 times
Reputation: 15623
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatCareerGuy View Post
Purchased an Italianate brownstone style home with vinyl siding at the bottom of a hill. The "basement" is a walk-out basement with the front entrance of the home at the lowest point of the hill. From the front of the home, it looks as if the walk-out basement is the first "story", however less than 20% of that level is above grade. The rest of that floor goes underground as you walk toward the back of the house (as it enters the slope of the hill).

For all intents and purposes, this is a "two-story" with a walk-out basement. An old survey lists it as a "Three Story" but inspectors and an appraiser consider it to be a two-story home with a basement and recommend getting a new survey done. Other homes on the opposite side of the street (the hill continues to slope downward) are able to have a basement with three full stories above it (their walkout basement entrances are at the back as you would expect).

The area of this city has a three story limit. My home is the only one that has no basement below the "walk out basement".

Any insight on this sort of phenomena?

Say I wanted to add another level to make it a "true three story" or
add dormers and a mini mansard roof on top of the home to make it two and a half stories?


If I wasn't able to add another story or half story, the digging out "another basement" would make it a cellar because it would be completely be underground right?

This is in NY/Lower Hudson Valley/Westchester area. Any thoughts?
The thought I have is if the city uses the word "story" in limiting the number of floors or levels a residence may have it must also have within its laws a definition that is used to describe what is meant by a "story." That is the only definition that matters.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:38 PM
 
23 posts, read 2,093 times
Reputation: 50
No, but when you are up on a ladder at the gutters looking down, it is a three story fall just the same.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
34,120 posts, read 59,357,181 times
Reputation: 33096
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonKatsu View Post
No, but when you are up on a ladder at the gutters looking down, it is a three story fall just the same.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB52NEPJxUs
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