Home Selling in Norfolk>Question Details

Kissme, Home Seller in Norfolk, VA

The city tax assessment lists my house as a 3 bedroom 1 bath. The attic was converted in to two bedrooms and a bathroom. I have been told that I

Asked by Kissme, Norfolk, VA Mon Jun 28, 2010

cannot list my home as a 4 bedroom 2 bath due to the fact that the attic is not up to code? The house was built in the 1930’s and attic was done some time in the 60’s or 70’s. I would like to put my home up for sale soon… but at a lost as to what to list it as?

Help the community by answering this question:


Another way to find out what your home truely is, is to hire an appraiser. They will come out and take all the steps to appraise the home as a 3 or 4 bedroom. To pay $500 for an appraisal, to gain 500 squarefoot on your home, well the money will be well spent compaired to the return you will get. If you looking to sale, you can use that appraisal as a gift to a buyer, but it will expire.
If you have any other questions or need any help, email me at monette_55@yahoo.com or call 757-735-2628. Good luck.

Kevin Monette
William E. Wood at the mall
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
Hi Kissme,
I also am in Norfolk and totally agree with what Geoffrey and Wayne told you, but I would like to know who told you that and why? Is there an obvious problem? It sounds like you might have purchased the home after these renovations were done, was there an issue at that time? The best way to know what price to list is to have a Realtor come look at your home and do comps based on whether it is truly a 4 bedroom or 3, but the tax records truly have no bearing on this. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Claudia McKenna
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 30, 2010
Good day. Not sure who told you that but they are waaaaayyyyyy off base. I live in Norfolk in a Cape Cod and I could not tell you at all if it's was done to code or not. All I know is that I bought it as a four bedroom home and it appraised as a four bedroom home. When you put your home on the market, the code enforcement officials will not be showing up to your front door to inspect. A real estate agent will come and look at your home and make a determination if it's going to pass as a four bedroom home or now. Tax records do not mean a thing. The only thing they are good for is to show the actual owner of the home (and that can be wrong at times). Don't worry about the code information and just worry about getting your home ready for the market. If you have any other questions, just let me know. I live and work in Norfolk so I'm always just a few minutes away. Good luck!!!!!

Geoffrey Cardwell
Web Reference: http://www.gcardwell.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
Hello Kissme - Since I am in Norfolk, I thought I would respond! All of the agents below have given to you very good answers - in short, the description of your property in the City tax records bears no necessary relevance to what your property actually may be and/or how it may be described when marketed. If you would like me to have a look at the house and recommend its best marketing positioning, I will be glad to do so. I am a native of Norfolk and work throughout it extensively. Feel free to let me know what I can do. Wayne Goodman
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
Scott's answer is textbook and very good. In Northern Va, the bedroom can be in the basement, as long as it has the required window size and location for firemen to enter, and children and adults to exit.
Web Reference: http://TalleyHurstHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
The tax records have no basis on how you can describe yoru house, tax assessments are often wrong as most properties were not visitied on the inside, but only a driveby. you can have them correct it and your assessment will go up therefore raising your taxes if you like, but it doesnt affect what your house is worth in todays market.

A bedroom must have its own door, not walking through one room to get to another. it must have a closet, be heated and have a window whoch in the old days was counted as the second way of egress. Any room counted should also be above ground, not in a basement. The code usually goes by when it was built or remodeled, if you were to remodel again today, you would have to bring upo to todays codes.

good luck with your sale
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
Your house sounds like many in the Richmond area. Built as a 2 bedroom , one bath Cape and expanded into the attic later. Around here they are all listed as 4 bedrooms weather its on the tax roll that way or not. Tax records in our area are notoriously inaccurate, usually to the home owners benefit. Generally speaking, If its private space and you can get a bed in it its a bedroom. Doors are pretty standard, sometimes in older homes though you won't have closets - or at least ones worth mentioning anyway.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
Do you know if a permit was drawn when the work was in the attic back in the '60's? If a permit was drawn, it is normally followed up with a county inspection that would either sign off on the work, or tell you what is deficient, and ask you to make the appropriate repairs.

Assuming that the attic is not up to code, you should look at what it will cost to bring it up to code. When you reach an agreement with a buyer, they will amost certainly do a home inspection, where these code issues will surface. Unless you're selling the house in as is condition, the buyer is going to ask you to make these repairs. You might as well do these repairs now, as it will make the marketing of the home that much more effective, and the selling the home that much easier. The fact that the tax record reflects the house one way, and the reality of the house is different, happens all the time. Make the repairs.

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
In order for a bedroom to be called a bedroom, it must have a closet, bedroom door, and it must be heated. My cape home had 2 bedrooms and a bath installed on the second level sometime during the 80's, but tax records had always once stated 2 bedrooms but it is a 4 bedroom home. And it nearly took an act of congress to get the assessor to change the tax records too (BTW, tax records do not have to reflect what the home offers).

Feel free to email me your property address and I'll be happy to pull some comps for you, and also stop by your place to provide you with my professional opinion as well -- no cost or obligation.

Frank Biganski, Realtor
(757) 303-0517
Reliance Realty, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 28, 2010
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