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Remodel & Renovate in Fremont : Real Estate Advice

  • All831
  • Local Info66
  • Home Buying485
  • Home Selling42
  • Market Conditions30

Activity 25
Tue Jul 11, 2017
Susie Kay answered:
Does it have HOA? If so you may want to start with the HOA. If the property is renovated, the county may make a higher assessment so you pay more tax.
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Sat Apr 29, 2017
Ws Homeowner answered:
Sounds like you actually moved plumbing to accommodate moving the toilet. While maybe not structural, it seems material. If it was a licensed plumber that did the work, but did it under the table, you likely are OK, not perfect, but OK. Not like you added a master bedroom suite. If you want to be more sure, you could have another licensed professional verify the work was sound, or to be 100% certain, have it inspected after the fact and pay any permit fees/penalties. But that has issues as well. Maybe what you did was not 'permitable', and the you gotta put it back. There are risks either way you go. ... more
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Wed Jan 4, 2017
Susie Kay answered:
I would suggest that you consult with a couple general contractors and go from there. Do you need a loan?
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Sat Feb 13, 2016
Ws Homeowner answered:
Nobody can answer your question given so many unanswered inputs. There are so many factors given materials and code. For instance I believe that if you add over 400 square feet, you need to install sprinklers throughout the whole house. That in same crazy circumstances means you have to run a new water line at your expense from the street to support this. Yes, someone can quote you a price per square foot range, but it would be meaningless. ... more
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Fri Nov 27, 2015
Arpad Racz answered:

I can put you in direct contact with a good team to give you more specific answers, depending on your requirements. Please feel free to email me from my profile.

all the best,

... more
0 votes 8 answers Share Flag
Tue Sep 22, 2015
Arpad Racz answered:

Are they standard or custom-sized windows? Any job of that size I would recommend at least 3 bids.

Kind regards,

0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Tue May 19, 2015
Randybradford6 answered:
Shalabh, it sounds like it could be important to shop around for the best price when looking to do some plumbing work like this. Being able to save some money while you work on things yourself seems like it might help you in the long run. I have a sister who needs some plumbing work done in her new house and this might be good advice for her as well. ... more
0 votes 27 answers Share Flag
Mon Nov 17, 2014
The Medford Team answered:
It is much easier to add on to an existing home than to do a teardown and rebuild. It is easier to get permits, less costly for development fees and it takes a lot less time as well.

The cost or renovation is more in the neighborhood of $250+ sq/ft, plus city and school fees. The most common traps are:

(1) Failing to hire a good professional contractor to run the job,
(2) Failing to put together a realistic budget.
(3) Sticking to the budget.

Keep in mind that once the project it completed, the county will reassess your taxes.
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0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Fri Aug 16, 2013
Claire Hsieh answered:
I can introduce my contractor to you, he did my house and several house in mission area, he know city permit so well, I sold my house after he done extension another 1400 sq ft of my house. my name is Claire , phone is 510-366-7306 and contractor name is Kamran Dadgari phone is 925-408-6240 ... more
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Fri Aug 16, 2013
Steven Ornellas answered:

The maximum FAR for new 2-story homes and 2nd story additions in Fremont is 0.70.

See page three of

0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Fri Aug 2, 2013
Steven Ornellas answered:
Hi BayareaGuy,

I have lived in the 94539/MSJ area for all my life and I have personally completed what you are trying to do in the 94539. There are way too many details to share on this forum on how to go about it the "correct way". If you want to contact me offline I would be happy to answer all your questions.

In 1993, I acted as "owner/general contractor" on a fairly significant remodel of my 1962 circa home. We tore off the entire roof and almost every wall (3 kept), down to the subfloor; gutted all the old electrical, HVAC, galvanized plumbing, drain/waste piping etc. We then added 1700sf and doubled the home's size.

There is a ton of preparation before you start demolition …. very hard work …. high stress at times …. Yeah, I would do it again; very rewarding!

Your cost can only be accurately determined based on the level of detail provided to the contractor bidding on your job! Commit this inverse relationship to memory:
Increased detail = reduced Change Order$ (not a good idea to travel down the reverse path).

If you are going to remodel definitely use an architect! I'm extremely pleased we didn't build what I had “cost-consciously” created on my home computer at the time. Also, start collecting your remodeling ideas (with pictures) so you can communicate exactly what you want to the Architect. Both you and the Architect will be pleased you did! A fantastic tool you can use to gather your “design thoughts” is – I certainly wish I had it back in 93! Figure on at least a year to “perfect” your remodel on paper and the corresponding budget (the legwork takes time).

Use LICENSED contractors when a task crosses over your “Do-it-yourself” comfort level of difficulty.

Make sure to obtain a permit for the work. If you do not take this step an Appraiser will not be able to provide any value for the remodel, which could "blow-up" any future sale because this can affect the Buyer's financing in addition to making the Buyer wonder if the remodel was done per building code.

... more
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Fri Feb 1, 2013
The Medford Team answered:
Agree with the answers below ...

Make sure you talk to the City of Fremont Planning department FIRST ...

They will tell you what can or cannot be done. If they give the go ahead for demolition, then Google “Fremont CA demolition contractors” for quotes. This is a real estate forum and we are not in a position to give you estimates for projects like this. ... more
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Mon Aug 27, 2012
Steven Ornellas answered:

Dawn is dead-on with commenting on the potential for historic preservation considerations. Given your description of the property, it sounds like its location may be situated in the Mission San Jose Historic Overlay District.

See page 6 & 7 of the following document for more info:

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Wed Mar 7, 2012
Laura Feghali answered:
Hello Mkda,
Thank you for posting more information about your home. Since you already have two tubs in the home, I would only add a second sink in the master bathroom and keep your needed storage space. Sounds like your master shower is pretty nice!

Good luck on your remodel!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
... more
0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Wed Feb 15, 2012
John Arendsen answered:
Take it from a contractor of 30 years. You need to start with an architect or design draftsman for some of the things your talking about. Trying to get a contractor to come in and design your improvements is a bit of a challenge unless they have design capabilities.

As far as your bathroom improvements are concerned I'd start with a plumbin contractor. You will have to pay for his advice but at least he/she would be able to tell you how viable the plumbing part would be. You need to know this before you start to design the bath.
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Thu Jan 12, 2012
Lisa T. answered:
I'm a licensed structural engineer and do both architectural design and structural engineering. Our office is located in Fremont Mission San Jose. Please feel free to call or email me to schedule a time to meet up at the property.
Lisa Tse, S.E., LEED AP
Integrand, Inc.
... more
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Thu Jul 28, 2011
John Arendsen answered:
Whether you're from Rhode Island or California you're always better to scrape and rebuild unless you're dealing with a historical property. The cost to rehab vs rebuild is vastly different. ... more
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Fri Jul 1, 2011
John Arendsen answered:
After re reading your question I'm finding it difficult to see how economic obsolescence applies in this scenario.

Economic Obsolescence:
Also referred to as external, location, or environmental obsolescence, this type of depreciation occurs outside the subject property. Typically this type of obsolescence occurs sometime after the property is built, as the environment around the home changes.
Examples include airport noise, toxic waste, nuclear power plants, freeway noise, dust and air pollens, changes in zoning, and more. For this reason, properties located next to the freeway or under a flight path will experience reductions in value. Some even say that economic obsolescence occurs when market demand changes. Consider a home with only one bathroom. If all the new properties in the area are being built with two or more bathrooms, obsolescence can occur.
Most economic obsolescence is incurable, mainly because it is out of the control of the owner of the subject property, and any effort to cure such a problem would be very costly and value depleting.
That said, it’s important to understand obsolescence and the effect it can have on the value of your home. Often times appraisers will note some kind of obsolescence, which can make financing very difficult. In fact, some lenders may decline your mortgage application if they find obsolescence on the appraisal report that they feel is a detriment to the value of the property.
Consider all this when selecting a piece of property, as issues even miles away can pose a threat to the value of your home.

Being that what you are describing is not "outside the subject property" I hardly see where this applies.

Functional Obsolescence:
When properties are built, they don’t always adhere to the standards of a given neighborhood, floor plan, or site design. When this happens, depreciation is caused by a loss of building utility, otherwise known as functional obsolescence. In other words, if a building has reduced usefulness due to poor design, the value must be also reduced.
Examples include buildings that are too big or lavish within a certain area, which is considered an overimprovement, or a property that is relatively small or poor compared with those around it, which is considered an underimprovement. If a building is said to be out-of-place or poorly designed for its location, it could be considered functionally obsolete.
If a property lacks a feature such as sideyard, or only contains one bathroom despite having five bedrooms, functional obsolescence occurs. Keep in mind that it can be curable or incurable, depending on the situation. If it’s possible to tear out a wall or add a room, assuming cost is less than the value benefit, it’s considered curable. Incurable obsolescence is typically defined as an overimprovement that will suffer value loss whether kept intact or removed.

Now base on part of your question: "We already have an extension to the house which makes it different from other 3 bed/2 baths in our area, it also makes our square footage same as other 4 bed/2.5 baths in the neighborhood." If I'm interpreting this correctly there are already other 4&2.5's in your neighborhood.

What it sounds like you want to do is make your present 3/2 look like other 4/2.5's that currently exist in your neighboorhood. You also indicated that "it won't affect the flow of the house as much" That being the case I am having a difficult time seeing how you would suffer from functional obsolescence.

If you wish to pursue this please feel free to email me a few pics [] showing these improvements/alterations, etc. We will be happy to evaluate them for you at no charge. In addition to being a RE broker I've also been and continue to me a general contractor for the past 25 years.

One our specialties has been remodeling and room additions. Additionally my daughter is a seasoned and very successful interior designer who has specialized in high end homes in Rancho Santa Fe, La Jolla, Del Mar and throughout the San Diego area for 12 years. Together I'm sure we could render a sound and professional opinion. Good Luck.
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Sun Feb 27, 2011
The Medford Team answered:
As a Realtor AND a licensed general contractor, there are some answers below that I would not agree with.

@ Gilbert Richards:
“It depends, some counties do not require permits for adding a bathroom on an existing foundation, and for the most part remodeling your kitchen doesn't require permits in most counties.”

Disagree: All counties in California require permits for adding a bathroom anywhere for any reason. And you would be VERY surprised to know that cities now want you to pull a permit for any facet of kitchen remodeling. Although many homeowners do not comply, cities have increased the requirements so that a permit is now required for replacing a sink, light fixture and so on.

@ Gilbert Richards:
“Honestly I have closed two deals without permitted work that was similar because the specific type of work did not require a permit from the County. So the property may be fine. So we can't say whether or not it is legal unless we know the provisions for that particular city and county.”

Disagree: Many Realtors close deals with unpermitted work. Happens EVERY day. Doesn’t make it OK or right. The question the buyer is asking is, “Should I proceed with the purchase,” not, “Is it possible to close a transaction with code and permit violations.” Those who are not licensed general contractors should be VERY cautious about answering code questions. As for differences between various counties and cities, California now has a uniform building code for the entire state.

@ Ken Vasan:
Good link – demonstrates EXACTLY what I am talking about.

@ Helen Chong
“Kitchen remodelling usually doesn't require a permit.”
Disagree. This is a common misperception amongst Realtors – a simple phone call to the city building department could be very educational. (510) 494-4460

@ Sandhya:
Call the City of Fremont and discuss it with them. You can also see copies of any permits and/or plans on record at the city Building Department at 39555 Liberty Street in Fremont. I’ve visited with them on numerous occasions and have also pulled MANY permits with them – they are very helpful. You will be able to make copies of the permits for a fee – getting a copy of the plans is a bit more complicated and has a waiting period while they contact the designer/architect. You should consider asking for an extension until you get this sorted out and feel more comfortable with it.

Bottom line: unpermitted work is rampant and has some VERY serious liability. You can read more in the following posts:

You TOO Can Purchase A Ticking Time Bomb! One Easy Step!
(Remodeling Without Permits - Part #1)

What Might Your Next Home Purchase Have In Common With The Titanic? 7 Key Recommendations
(Remodeling Without Permits - Part #2)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – 3 CRITICAL Things To Know About Flips

3 Things You MUST Do To Get Your Albatross To Land Successfully…
... more
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Sun Jan 3, 2010
Dawn Rivera answered:
Hi Va, after you get a permit and have all the inspections after the improvement is finished you will get a supplemental tax bill and then when you house is re-assessed as it is each year, your assessment will be higher. That is why some many people do add-ons with out permits. The down side to that is you could run into problems with the city if they find out and you will not get the benefit or the add-on when you sell....Dawn ... more
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