This year, more than any other, I came across quite a few homes that featured an illegal deck, bathroom, etc. Many times it is obvious, and other times not so… I found that many times the agents would not list the deck, bathroom as being illegal on the listing, and I guess were hoping ‘it would correct itself’ or ‘no-one would notice’ once the property was in contract.. Shame!
I had written a blog on legalizing prior to selling a home back in March of 2011, and I always find it worth returning to – year after year. If only the seller(s) would realize that it is to their advantage to obtain that Certificate of Occupancy prior to listing the home for sale. They would then be able to include that particular illegal bathroom/deck, etc. in the property description, and ostensibly obtain a higher sales price for their home in doing so. Plus, they would not have to tie up the property in contract while obtaining the C/O. Many times buyers are seeking a home within a 45-60 day period of time, and if they feel it will take an additional 6 weeks to close because of obtaining that C/O, they will walk also.
Then, of course, there is the seller who demands you list the illegal bathroom, advertise the illegal media room in the basement, etc. and in that case, I have to politely thank them for the opportunity and walk away. I can state in a listing that a C/O is being obtained for an additional bathroom but I am not allowed to include it in the total number of bathrooms until it is legal.
How hard is the process and how do you find out if there is an illegal bathroom? All you have to do is go to the Building Department and/or the Assessor’s office (have your agent do this), and the agent can very quickly discover how many rooms, bathrooms you are paying tax on by simply looking up the property.. If there is a question about the number of bathrooms, then a trip to the building department and looking up the C/O’s/looking at plans, etc. will answer that question too. I have written about choosing the right contractor … very important also… but if you are seeking to obtain the highest amount for your home – and why shouldn’t you … then legalize that rooom/bathroom/deck before you list your home.. You will not be sorry, and your agent will be better able to represent you.
Lastly, choose your agent well… I have seen agents list homes that have illegal decks, to the detriment of the seller…. I am here for all of your real estate needs.
Larchmont and New Rochelle is GREAT! 😛