Property Q&A in 60618>Question Details

Jaxson16, Home Buyer in 49612

Purchasing a 2 flat with a fully finished basement 3rd unit. HOw can find out if its non-conforming and not illegal or make legit. Looking for prohelp

Asked by Jaxson16, 49612 Wed Mar 2, 2011

Under contract to buy a 2 flat in the irving park area. Great house looks to have all the elements of a 3unit but the Cert of OCC Cert is only for a 2 unit. Want to find someone (professional/attorney) for advice who has dealt with these problems and how to best address this issue. House is zoned now as RS3, basement is about 7-1/2' High about 3 feet above ground. Has 3 car garage and on a lot that is roughly 33.5x130'L. Solid advice perferred. Please post or email me if you need more info.

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You can use an FHA 203k to do any necessary work on the building to bring it into compliance with HUD standards.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
Right now its a two unit, and that it. After you buy it, you can try to get it rezoned, but its really tough to get that through these days with the city. Hire a good attorney, and have him look at the property. Only then will you really know if it can be done. I wouldnt go into it though thinking this is going to be an easy process. Best of luck!

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
Brokers Associate, e-PRO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
You can go to room 1109 at City Hall and pull an FOI request.(free) The RS3 will govern, unless the FOI request shows that the Basement Unit was created with a valid permit. Ceiling height as indicated is legal. The plus sized lot helps you. The FOI will either help you get something "grandfathered" or show you that you need a zoning change or you will have to remove/convert the unit. In my experience, these type of units turn out to have been created without a permit. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
Hello, I owned, consecutively, about 50 buildings in Chicago. Three units are good BUT, connecting the "ground floor" (not basemen) unit to the first floor may raise the rental of the first floor. The 7.5 feet ceiling was legal years ago. You may get it grandfathered in if it is old enuf. Try it IF YOU ARE CHALLENGED buy the building dept.

OR, just buy the building at a price that is comparable to the average, original TWO flat in the neighborhood. This may require the reduction of the purchase price.

You may rent the unit to a family member legally, as far as I know from past dealing with a situation like this.

Don't ask, do it. Stay friendly with your neighbors at all times, if a government agency complains, just "i'm sorry, I didn't know." and remove the bathroom.

If you are able, sell all property in Chicago and buy in Naples, Florida. Prices are LOW and rents are high. A $80k home rents out for $1,100.00 per month. This amounts to at least 9% interest on your money.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011

Can the buyer use a FHA 203K to remove the illegal unit and stil purchase with a lower down payment?


It is impossible for anyone to determine what can be done without a visit to the property.The Zoning Cert is what the City believes to be the legal number of units. You may be able to duplex the first floor or other situation. You should have an architect or other Zoning professional determine feasibility for a third unit or feasibility for the otherwise finished basement. Worst case, it needs to be removed, but a knowledgeable architect may help you sort the situation out with a visit to the property.

Wayne Beals
Keller Williams CCG
312 77BEALS
312 772-3257
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011

From a financing standpoint, you will need to either pay cash or go with a conforming loan with 25% down. FHA does not allow "accessory units".

If you have any other questions, please feel free to call or email.

Matt Bukovy
Mortgage Consultant
Wintrust Mortgage
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
If the zoning cert says 2 units then it is a 2 unit building period! There are a thousand reasons why it does not conform to building codes and nothing you or any attorney can do to change it. Do not waste your money. If all basement units could be made legal they would have been converted by now. The whole purpose of creating the zoning certificate 10 years ago was to prevent people from paying for a 3 unit when the 3rd unit was not legal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
"Cert of OCC Cert is only for a 2 unit is your answer", RS3 is for Single Family or 2Flat at the Max. If the Basement Unit was grandfathered in you would be in good shape. Your agent should be able to help you get that info and direct you to pull the freedom of info report from the city (takes 7 days to get). Don't pay the 3unit price if it's only a 2unit.

Best of Luck
Pedro Ferrel
312-719-0420 Any Time
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
talk to a real estate attorney. Ronald Stearney at 3124566900. He does a lot of work involving the city.

good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 3, 2011
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