Will it really be legal?
It can’t be done legally! I’ve heard it literally hundreds of times, yet in my concrete cutting business, one that is crucial in the conversion process, I have seen it done hundreds of times. How you may ask? It’s actually not any more difficult than most major home renovations. And if you ask what are the benefits? That is a simple one: it can increase the value of your home by 50% and sometimes double. It also allows you to legally rent your new apartment(s) out to cut your personal living expenses.
Still sound impossible? Well, if you call your local building department and ask if it can be done, you may get laughed at but depending on your city or town’s local by-laws you may be surprised to find out that it isn’t at all uncommon. However, there are several conditions that must be in place before a building inspector would even consider handing you an application for a building permit. You may or may not already meet the criteria for this undertaking, but if you don’t, you may be able to easily make the necessary changes.
These conditions in most cases are/but not limited to:
* Ample parking for each unit – usually two parking spaces for each unit are necessary depending on the amount of bedrooms. If space permits, parking can easily be increased on your property with some excavating and/or by adding concrete retaining walls.
* Ceiling height – If the basement or attic is to be converted to an apartment there are limits to how low the ceiling can be. Lowering a concrete basement floor can be accomplished, in most cases, by cutting and removing the existing concrete, digging the dirt out and pouring a new concrete slab.
* Egress – This is the ability to enter and exit the new unit. There must be a set amount of windows and doors of certain widths and lengths. This is where our expertise comes in to play. We are a professional concrete cutting service. We cut egress windows and doors into concrete foundations and openings for the installation of basement stairs and bulkheads.
* Each unit must have a bathroom and kitchen in order to be considered legal.
We once cut in some egress windows for a woman in Revere, MA who already had an “illegal” in-law apartment that she easily converted it to a “legal” apartment. She had been asking $259,000 for her single family home but couldn’t sell it. After seeing her neighbor convert her home into a two family she did the same. She completed the conversion and ended up selling her property for $379,000.
I remember doing a job for a man in the prestigious community of Brookline, MA in Boston. He owned a condominium in a six unit building which each came with a storage unit that was one sixth of the basement of the building. He told the other five-condo owners that he needed additional storage and that he was willing to pay them to purchase their storage units. He ended up buying the other five storage areas for $15,000 each, 1,200 sq feet of prime real estate for a total of $75,000. We ended up cutting and removing the concrete slab and cutting in a doorway in the foundation for him. He lowered the basement floor and converted it into a beautiful condo and sold it for over $1,000,000.
These examples are evidence that anything is possible. By checking with your local building department and doing your homework, you too may be able to convert your single family into a multi-unit property.
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