First Time B…, Home Buyer in Temple City, CA

How can I find out if the garage is included in haibitable square footage or not?

Asked by First Time Buyter, Temple City, CA Wed Feb 16, 2011

I found a property but I suspect that the garage is part of the habitable square footage? How could I find out more information? Will the realtors be able to find it out for me?

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Spirit Messi…, Agent, Tucson, AZ
Wed Feb 16, 2011
If it was here in Tucson AZ, believe it or not it must have heating to count towards sq ft. You would think in the desert it would have to have AC but it is heat. I suspect that most agents there in CA will know the "rules" there, give one a call and sure they would be thrilled to work with you. As a general rule, most of the time the garage is not factored into sq ft.

Dont know where to start, there are some here on Trulia that took the time to answer your question, start there. Best of luck.
1 vote
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Thu Feb 17, 2011
Ask your agent to pull up the county tax records. It will show what the City shows as permitted square footage. You can measure the house and then determine if the garage is shown. Garages usually are not counted as the square footage (2 car about 400 sq. ft.) unless it has been converted to living space and then it would need to be permitted.
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0 votes
Annie Nguyen, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu Feb 17, 2011

The right way for you to find out it to contact the planning department of the city and tell them the address. They will tell you what you would like to know. Generally the area of garage is not considered as living part of the floor plan since it did not build with proper protection for habitat as required by code. If someone altered the space into the living quarter most of the time is not legal. You can check out if they had pulled the permit to alter it before you buy it . For house to build before 1985, most of the floor plans were archived into micro fiches for you to review. This is a free service. If you would like have a copy of the floor plan you might have to pay a fee to get it from the city. I hope this answer will be adequate for your answer. More details you can email me later. Good luck.
0 votes
Jerry Current, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Wed Feb 16, 2011
In Pasadena, all houses are required to have a City of Pasadena presale inspection prior to selling. The City Inspector will call out any health and safety issues that need to be corrected by the owner prior to sale, and will check for any unpermitted additions/conversions. So if the garage has been converted into living space without proper permit, the City Inspector will most likely require it to be corrected on the Inspection Report. Alternatively, you can go down to the City Buiding and Safety and ask for copies of all the permits filed against the property to see for yourself. The Pasadena Permit Center is located at 175 North Garfield Avenue, Pasadena.
0 votes
Sonsie Conroy, Agent, San Luis Obispo, CA
Wed Feb 16, 2011
Unless the garage has been turned into habitable living space, it is NOT counted in the square footage of the home. In order to be habitable, certain inspections, permits, etc., must be obtained, and a certificate of occupancy must be received. In addition, in many communities the lack of on-street parking must be considered. In my town, one cannot convert a garage unless you provide the equivalent of 1.5 off-street parking spots. Rules like this can mean a garage stays a garage...period.

If you think the seller or his/her agent is mistaken about the square footage of the house, or inadvertently including the garage (if it is finished off), ask to see the permit[s], C of O, or other evidence that the room is properly built and permitted. If it isn't, decide whether or not you want to deal with the possible consequences if you buy the house. You could be required to remove the improvements, or make repairs or upgrades to meet code requirements, or you could be fined. And, if you decide to rent out that garage room, your tenant has a built-in reason to break his or her lease. Good luck with this!

Sonsie Conroy
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed Feb 16, 2011
First Time....

Under normal conditions the garage is not considered part of the inhabitable square footage. If you suspect that this is not the case, we recommend consulting the home's records through your county records department.

By regulation, for a garage to legally be converted into living space a number of a changes would be required that may include the level of the floor, and structural, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing issues. Your code enforcement officer would be able to best advise you on the extent of these requirements.

Good luck,

0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Wed Feb 16, 2011
Yes, your agent can provide you with any necessary information, you can also check local public records department, ask the owner(s)--generally a garage is not part of living space square footage--your agent can best advise.
0 votes
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