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Old 5 December 2017, 11:49
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H60Gunner H60Gunner is offline
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VA Appraisal

My house is a two story split level on a slab. The down stairs was not finished when I bought it, now it has a full bath, two bedrooms (1 nonconforming) a living room and a utility /laundry room. When the VA appraiser counts square footage they only count the second story as living space thus including only half of the square footage for the appraisal. They call the downstairs a basement, even though it is entirely above ground with an attached 2 car garage. Iím not planning on refinancing anytime soon because I have a great rate through a conventional loan. Just curious as to why the VA does this. I sent an email to the VA over a month ago and crickets.
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Old 5 December 2017, 12:13
PocketKings PocketKings is offline
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Is the space conditioned? That's usually a reason they don't include it (if it's not).
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Old 5 December 2017, 12:19
DB8541 DB8541 is offline
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In order to be considered living space it has to have two seperate means of egress and a normal size window does not count.
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Old 5 December 2017, 12:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketKings View Post
Is the space conditioned? That's usually a reason they don't include it (if it's not).
Yes forced air heating into every space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DB8541 View Post
In order to be considered living space it has to have two seperate means of egress and a normal size window does not count.
It has three doors, two to the outside and one to the garage.
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Old 5 December 2017, 13:59
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Get a 2nd opinion. Sometimes these people don't know how to properly word or describe things and when it gets back to the VA they will use their best judgement. A more experienced appraiser could change it with better language. Remember they look at the tax records also and that maybe it is described differently to the local tax man which needs to be amended since the changes occurred (could increase your tax liability)
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Old 5 December 2017, 14:15
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My VA appraisal for home construction loan came in 150K LESS than the cost of construction.

The VA requires the appraisal be conducted by one of their "anointed" appraisers, not just any licensed appraiser.

So we had to go Conventional, and that appraisal was 250K MORE than that done by the VA guy.

Caveat Emptor
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Old 5 December 2017, 14:52
AKAPete AKAPete is offline
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Above and Below grade. Then there is what is typical for the local market.

You didn't post a picture of the house so your description is a little lacking in details. A split level is a ranch with the bedroom level three or so steps up from the main living area. A split foyer is a two story with the entry foyer between the two levels - half a flight down to the lower level and half a flight up to the main living level. Kitchen, living room, bedrooms and baths are on the upper level. If completely finished the lower level usually has a bedroom, bath and great room. If a garage is attached, entry is usually through the lower level.

Anything below grade is counted as a basement. If you have one side of the level below grade even by a few inches technically it's a basement. Most split foyer homes have the lower level floor along the front wall a couple of feet below grade.

Most tri-level homes have a below grade lower level but it's acceptable in our local market to count it as finished living area as long as it has windows facing the street and most of the comparables are also tri-level homes.

If your home is a split foyer the appraiser should have scoured the market area for similar home sales.
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Old 5 December 2017, 15:25
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Originally Posted by AKAPete View Post
Above and Below grade. Then there is what is typical for the local market.

A split foyer is a two story with the entry foyer between the two levels - half a flight down to the lower level and half a flight up to the main living level. Kitchen, living room, bedrooms and baths are on the upper level. If completely finished the lower level usually has a bedroom, bath and great room. If a garage is attached, entry is usually through the lower level.


If your home is a split foyer the appraiser should have scoured the market area for similar home sales.
This describes the house accurately. The entire house is above grade.
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Old 5 December 2017, 15:39
AKAPete AKAPete is offline
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Originally Posted by H60Gunner View Post
This describes the house accurately. The entire house is above grade.
You live in it not me - but as I said - almost all split foyer homes have the front lower floor level below grade even if there is a walk out rear door to a patio.

They come in many different styles but this pic shows how the foyer is in the middle and the lower level is below grade. If there is nothing below grade then split foyers with no below grade areas should have been used as comparables - at least one. Any subdivision for the last 40 years have had a few builders building the homes and they had their favorite plans. Flip the plan, change the siding, add a bigger porch but still the same plan. Any subdivision with a split foyer in it will have at least a few more. Might take some digging.
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File Type: jpg split foyer.jpg (37.3 KB, 81 views)

Last edited by AKAPete; 5 December 2017 at 15:46.
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Old 5 December 2017, 15:53
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Originally Posted by AKAPete View Post
You live in it not me - but as I said - almost all split foyer homes have the front lower floor level below grade even if there is a walk out rear door to a patio.

They come in many different styles but this pic shows how the foyer is in the middle and the lower level is below grade.
The front of the house has stairs to a small deck which is at the front door. Open the front door, and you are on a landing which has half stairs up and half stairs down. In the back of the house, you come in through a door to the lower level all above grade.

Sorry I'm not more familiar with house styles, and thanks for answering!
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Old 5 December 2017, 19:53
wildman43 wildman43 is offline
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What does the country records show the house as. SQ feet etc. ??

Just called an appraiser, 99.99% appraiser use what is called a wheel that they roll around the out side of the house to get the sq. footage. All room have to have Heat & Air to be counted in the sq. footage, catch 22 some will include the garage in the sq. footage, some will delete it.

You stated two bedrooms (1 nonconforming) what do you mean by this statement. If there is no heat or air. then it will not be counted as a bed room.

Last edited by wildman43; 5 December 2017 at 20:12. Reason: wording
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  #12  
Old 5 December 2017, 21:13
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H60Gunner H60Gunner is offline
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Originally Posted by wildman43 View Post
What does the country records show the house as. SQ feet etc. ??

Just called an appraiser, 99.99% appraiser use what is called a wheel that they roll around the out side of the house to get the sq. footage. All room have to have Heat & Air to be counted in the sq. footage, catch 22 some will include the garage in the sq. footage, some will delete it.

You stated two bedrooms (1 nonconforming) what do you mean by this statement. If there is no heat or air. then it will not be counted as a bed room.
The VA appraiser took the square footage of the house and cut it in half because he said the downstairs is a basement and doesn't count as a living space. As I have said, it is above ground and completely finished.

All rooms have a duct from the central air system into the room.
The living room downstairs has two ducts. The living room up stairs has two ducts.

The appraiser did not count the garage as sq footage.

There are two bedrooms upstairs that are conforming, ie. they have a closet.

There are two bedrooms downstairs, one has no closet so it is considered nonconforming.
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  #13  
Old 6 December 2017, 07:18
AKAPete AKAPete is offline
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Real Estate Agents and Real Estate Appraisers are supposed to use the ANSI Standards for measuring homes. Pretty detailed on how to measure.

A Garage is not included in the Gross Living Area (GLA) but is included in the Gross Building Area (GBA). Porch, Deck and Patio are included in the GBA but not the GLA. Below grade areas are not included in the GLA.

Idaho has an Appraisal Board. If you have a problem you can contact them. Link
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  #14  
Old 6 December 2017, 12:45
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H60Gunner H60Gunner is offline
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Idaho has an Appraisal Board. If you have a problem you can contact them. Link
I'll send them an email and see what they say. Thanks!
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