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Old 04-06-2012, 01:43 PM
 
148 posts, read 561,008 times
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We are looking at a waterfront home that is on 3 floors and as such the ground floor level is deemed non-conforming. Can this be included in the square footage of a home on the MLS?
The reason I ask this is that is has been included on the tax records. They have both the ground floor and main living area listed together as a primary living space. We have been told by the agent and insurance people that we cannot insure the ground floor.
If it makes a difference the home was built in the 1980's.
Many thanks
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Old 04-06-2012, 02:13 PM
 
1,235 posts, read 3,319,764 times
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This is a tricky area. It really depends on the elevation of the ground floor & what type of space it is.

We built a home on the beach, on pilings. Our lower level was originally "outdoor space". However, it was above the FEMA flood level so we were able to get a permit through the county & enclose the space. The type of space is important. The county will not permit bedrooms or bathrooms at that level. Our space was rec. room type space so that was permissable & insurable. We did add a pool bath on the same level, which is considered non-conforming & is not insurable- which wasn't a big deal to us. The full square footage was allowed on the MLS when we sold- minus the bathroom. One apprasial we had done included all the square footage-minus the bathroom. However, later on, we had a second appraisal done by a different appraiser (bank ordered) and the appraiser seem confused about the space so he refused to include anything on the first floor. Although it has been permitted & recongnized through the county & on the tax records.... By his logic, neither of my neighbors houses have any qualifying sq. footage as they live in 50's block ranch homes on the same level as my first floor!

That is the most frustrating thing about it. No one is on the same page when it comes to "non-conforming" space.

Last edited by PixiStix; 04-06-2012 at 02:25 PM..
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:14 PM
 
16,384 posts, read 19,294,976 times
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They call this non-conforming, but usually is is really illegal. the agents tend to say non-conforming because it sounds better.

A true definition of non-conforming means the property was built legally per building code at the time. Let's say it was 1955 and the home was built 2 ft below the current FEMA flood elevation requirement. But in 1955, FEMA didn't have that rule and the house was built as normal rules. Then let's say in 1974 FEMA came up with new FEMA maps and that property had new FEMA elevation that said it should be 2' higher for the first floor of living area. That 1955 house is now non-conforming. The county shows the sq footage as living area...all is legal.

Example 2 is a 1999 built home that is a 2 story that had bottom level enclosed and was deemed as non-living "storage" space when built because the lower level was 3' below the 1999 FEMA required elevation. The bottom floor sq footage is counted as non-living sq footage per the county and the upper floor sq footage (above FEMA flood level) is considered living sq footage.

Then 3 years later, the owners in Example 2 add a mother in law suite downstairs. they put drywall and carpeting and trim and electric sockets and trim and interior doors and add a kitchen with maple cabinets and bathroom. This is actually illegal sq footage. But if it was listed in the MLS, it is usually called non-conforming. It is illegal because they added it after the FEMA rules and it was never legal to finish that floor. The county web site would not be listing it as living sq footage. The only way for this lower level to really be non-conforming would be if it was finished BEFORE the FEMA rules that made that lower level's elevation be below base flood elevation (BFE).
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,864 posts, read 10,095,472 times
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Years ago, I was part of a 'remodeling' trade that was working on a house on the Sarasota Bay side south of Cortez Rd somewhere in the 86 St-106 St area. A 'financially secure' person bought a 1960's house, definitely in a flood zone just above sea level. He hired a very creative architect to build a new house over the old one so as to not conform to new code. The roof was removed and a second story was constructed which included a huge master bedroom, large bathroom, a few other rooms and a deck. The kitchen and dining area was enlarged on the first floor and two bedrooms remained with theliving room. According to the county, it was a remodel job and the original ground floor house remained as a living area.
The house conforms to 1960's code.
I wonder what it was like living in the Cortez area in the 1960's
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,549 posts, read 5,891,528 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d4g4m View Post
Years ago, I was part of a 'remodeling' trade that was working on a house on the Sarasota Bay side south of Cortez Rd somewhere in the 86 St-106 St area. A 'financially secure' person bought a 1960's house, definitely in a flood zone just above sea level. He hired a very creative architect to build a new house over the old one so as to not conform to new code. The roof was removed and a second story was constructed which included a huge master bedroom, large bathroom, a few other rooms and a deck. The kitchen and dining area was enlarged on the first floor and two bedrooms remained with theliving room. According to the county, it was a remodel job and the original ground floor house remained as a living area.
The house conforms to 1960's code.
I wonder what it was like living in the Cortez area in the 1960's
I'm aware of someone that did a similar thing on the beaches 8 or 10 years ago. Basically remodeled "around" the existing house, and then "remodeled" most of the existing house out from inside of the new additions.
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:12 AM
 
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The majority of waterfront homes are in some sort of flood zone. Building off the original foundation of an older home is perfectly legal. The reason most people do it isn't to be some sneaky law breaker. The reason people do is it because it saves an enormous amount of time & money. It's a pretty common process.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
10,977 posts, read 9,688,002 times
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From my understanding, and this is based in South Carolina but I'm pretty sure they are federal standards, you must be 17 feet above sea level for the space to be livible or insured. Also, the first floor must be break away in case of hurricane or high tides.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
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If a home is totally destroyed in a V flood zone, as per current building code, you will not be permitted to rebuild on the original foundation unless the first living space is above the required height for where the home is located. Your old foundation becomes a very large vehicle parking area.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
3,580 posts, read 5,140,226 times
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Some great posts here regarding waterfront homes and the building codes.


There are very specific rules for construction and remodeling for coastal properties. The state of FL has an established Coastal Construction Control Line. Sarasota county also has a Gulf Beach Setback Line, which is seaward of the state's line. There is also a Barrier Island 20 Year Pass Hazard Line. So if you build, remodel or enlarge a structure on the seaward side of any of these lines, you may need to obtain special permits.

You get get a wealth of information regarding the construction and remodeling rules for coastal properties at the Sarasota county web link:

Coastal Permitting Header


A waterfront lot line is constantly changing as sands shift on the shoreline. Every time a waterfront lot is surveyed, that line is redrawn to coincide with the "mean high-water line." The beach below that MHWL is considered land held and controlled by the government for public use. Generally, damp sand at high tide is considered for public use and dry sand is considered private.

You will also have restrictions on changes to landscaping as categories of vegetation are protected, such as sea oats, sea grapes, saw palmettos, mangroves, etc.

Having spent a week last spring at a beachfront condo on Longboat Key, I totally understand why people want to live on or next to the beach. But before buying, it's best to learn as much as you can about the "what ifs" regarding construction, remodeling and rebuilding for homes that fall within those coastal construction control lines. The more information you have, the better choices you can make.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:42 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
35,858 posts, read 46,001,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PixiStix View Post
The majority of waterfront homes are in some sort of flood zone. Building off the original foundation of an older home is perfectly legal. The reason most people do it isn't to be some sneaky law breaker. The reason people do is it because it saves an enormous amount of time & money. It's a pretty common process.

If the remodel is valued at 50%+$1 of the original value then the house has to be brought up to all current codes.
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