The listing for the La Mesa house shouldn't have put that square footage in the listing unless the permit process was completed for the living space conversion, because you can't know if all the code criteria has been met, such as a heating source for the room, and proper egress. You can easily check with the La Mesa permit office for requirements and to see if permits were pulled. Their office is small, and I've had good experiences with them on my own house. No appraiser will miss the fact that the tax records show 1962 square feet, so don't worry what the listing says, just go with what you know is fact.
If you really want the house at the lower square footage value, do know that a call to the permit office can alert them to the illegal conversion, which could affect you down the road if you buy the house. They may ask you to convert it back at your own expense, or take down walls to check the heating and electricity, for example.
Oners mainly don't pull permits because the added square footage will add value to their home, causing a reassessment and higher property taxes.
Some illegal garage conversions can be easily converted back, and some can add value if the space was done well and it's a value to a buyer, sort of an enhanced garage. You see this type of thing on patio enclosures as well.
Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions.
There are three issues at hand that have all been covered separately:
1. The tax records are often inaccurate. Hard to say what is accurate, the appraiser will measure the square footage.
2. If it is "non-permitted" square footage, and the seller made the agent aware, it needs to be disclosed. Now matter what, this is why most listings say "Buyer & Buyer's Agent must verify all information related to property prior to the close of escrow".
3. The information in the MLS is only as good as the information the Listing Agent inputs. If a Buyer's Agent has a doubt, it is their job to clarify with the Listing Agent and then take it to the MLS board if they feel there is something inaccurate that needs reporting.
Best of luck to you,
Mark & Kari Shea
Shea Real Estate
Serving Greater San Diego County
Is this a case of misrepresentaion? It really depends on the knowledge of the parties and the disclosure of such knowledge. Since there is no completed transaction at this time, these questions cannot be answered.
Having said all of this, there are many properties that have unpermitted space that are very attractive to particualr buyers. These issues can often be worked out. My suggestion to you is that you get representaion from an experienced and skilled agent who is willing to put in the work to best serve your interests.
Let me know if I can help you in any way!
Joan Wilson (Realtor, SRES, Ecobroker, Certified REO, HAFA, and Short Sale Specialist)
Prudential California Realty
Direct Phone: 760-757-3468
800-975-7481 x 111
License # 01341483
Find Your Dream Home:
Was the renovation done with the proper permits? This is something that will need to be explored to be on the safe side.
All these answers are true. What it comes down to is you the buyer. Are you ok with the extra square footage not being permitted? If the converted garage is done well, it is an extra 900 square foot of space for you! Plenty of homes sold in Sn Diego have unpermitted square footage, it is very common. Get a good home inspector to verify that the conversion is at least done properly. Good luck!
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