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Old 03-14-2007, 06:27 PM
 
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My husband and I will be moving to the Raleigh area soon. He is a general contractor and is looking to change the focus of his career when we get to NC.

One of the ideas he had was to specialize in finishing basements and walk-up attic spaces. I know there are a lot of new homes with these features. I was wondering if there is a big market for this type of work. I know it's advantageous to wait until after buying a house to finish these spaces (saves on property taxes). If one was to finish a basement or an attic space, would you call the original builder or find another contractor? Are there a lot of contractors in the Raleigh area who specialize in this niche?

Thanks in advance for your input--your advice on other topics has been invaluable!
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
37,005 posts, read 64,326,714 times
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There is a good market for finishing unfinished spaces. Better to pull permits and do it right.

The "savings" on property taxes is not a good idea.
That money is often lost when one goes to re-sell and the house has to be inspected for the property to be marketable.
Unpermitted finished spaces are common and are on every real estate agent's radar, and sales are lost over these problems.
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:48 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
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I would have to say I agree with mike on this one. I have shown many people homes with finished spaces that were unpermitted, and that makes me and the potential buyer's nervous. They don't feel like they are necessarily saving money, but moreso that the finished spaces has not been inspected!

I would say there are many more attics to be finished than basements, but they are out there.

Leigh
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Old 03-14-2007, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
3,124 posts, read 11,948,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
There is a good market for finishing unfinished spaces. Better to pull permits and do it right.

The "savings" on property taxes is not a good idea.
That money is often lost when one goes to re-sell and the house has to be inspected for the property to be marketable.
Unpermitted finished spaces are common and are on every real estate agent's radar, and sales are lost over these problems.
I admit, I would have never looked into if a home remodel had permits....interesting that sales are lost over it. Is this before or after an independent home inspection?

We are currently remodeling our basement...we did get permits for the new electric and 1/2 bath....and let WF know what we were doing ourselves (part of the overall permit), but I'll be darned if I am going to pay someone to put up insulation and wallboard when my husband and I am quite capable of doing it ourselves and probabl better then most companies.
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
2,834 posts, read 11,309,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desdemona123 View Post
I admit, I would have never looked into if a home remodel had permits....interesting that sales are lost over it. Is this before or after an independent home inspection?

We are currently remodeling our basement...we did get permits for the new electric and 1/2 bath....and let WF know what we were doing ourselves (part of the overall permit), but I'll be darned if I am going to pay someone to put up insulation and wallboard when my husband and I am quite capable of doing it ourselves and probabl better then most companies.
You can look on wake gov and see what the square footage of a home is, and under the notes section it will tell you if permits have been issued for remodels. You can remodel yourself, you just need to have town or city inspectors make sure things are being done right from the beginning.

Leigh
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:10 PM
 
1,484 posts, read 3,899,094 times
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Default check the market

Since you are relocating, you should research the home improvment market to see what your competition is. There is alot of cheap (alot illegal) labor here for the market. I personally would not limit myself to just certain type of improvments rather than trying to focus on the market willing to pay what you are asking. Its too bad but most people simply take the cheapest bid.
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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Basements? Here in Wake County?? Most homes are built on Crawl spaces. there are not many homes down here with basements.
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Old 03-14-2007, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
3,124 posts, read 11,948,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighbhe View Post
You can look on wake gov and see what the square footage of a home is, and under the notes section it will tell you if permits have been issued for remodels. You can remodel yourself, you just need to have town or city inspectors make sure things are being done right from the beginning.

Leigh
I see what you are saying now...not sure if I would back off on a house I loved because of it, but I would have a through inspection.

I see one problem of not having the permits.

My boss bought a home in Durham county. It was listed, inspected, sold and mortgaged at 2300 sq ft. Turns out that several years later when she wanted to refinance, the Durham records had it listed at 1700sq ft. The upstairs had been finished, the county never notified and she almost didn't get her refinance because the second company didn't want to beleive her home was 500 sq ft bigger then they said and with another full bath! She had to go through some major hoops to get it all taken care of.

The work was very good...just 'off the books'.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
37,005 posts, read 64,326,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desdemona123 View Post
I admit, I would have never looked into if a home remodel had permits....interesting that sales are lost over it. Is this before or after an independent home inspection?

We are currently remodeling our basement...we did get permits for the new electric and 1/2 bath....and let WF know what we were doing ourselves (part of the overall permit), but I'll be darned if I am going to pay someone to put up insulation and wallboard when my husband and I am quite capable of doing it ourselves and probabl better then most companies.
Desdemona,
Like Leigh says, a square foot deviation between the listing and the tax rolls can be a tip-off that the additional square feet is not legal.
"Legal" doesn't mean done by contractor or homeowner. It means the municipality has inspected and accepted the work for code compliance.

Independent home inspection can catch some stuff, but a buyer, or agent, can often note that the space is not legit without paying a home inspector.

Often HVAC units are undersized and ductwork is improperly tapped for additions. This is expensive to repair after the area is finished.

I would suggest you need an inspection of rough-in prior to insulating and then prior to installing sheetrock to be legit. It can be costly at resale to tear off sheetrock for code inspection and then replace and repaint.
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
3,124 posts, read 11,948,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeJaquish View Post
Desdemona,
Like Leigh says, a square foot deviation between the listing and the tax rolls can be a tip-off that the additional square feet is not legal.
"Legal" doesn't mean done by contractor or homeowner. It means the municipality has inspected and accepted the work for code compliance.

Independent home inspection can catch some stuff, but a buyer, or agent, can often note that the space is not legit without paying a home inspector.

Often HVAC units are undersized and ductwork is improperly tapped for additions. This is expensive to repair after the area is finished.

I would suggest you need an inspection of rough-in prior to insulating and then prior to installing sheetrock to be legit. It can be costly at resale to tear off sheetrock for code inspection and then replace and repaint.
I am with you on some of this...but inspection prior to insulating? Why? The home was already inspected...the duct work is in the ceiling so it's not like that is an issue for the walls.

We are going for a quality remodel....and completely legal from what I can tell from Wake Forests rules....I just can't imagine paying an inspector to inspect an already inspected build just to add insulation.
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