Sellers property size versus county records size

8 Replies

I have a wholesaler trying to sell a property that he says is a 3/1 and according to the county records online shows it as a 2/1. He also said it was closed prior as a 3/1.

What is the best way from a due dilligence perspective to find out which is actually correct?

Go by the sq ft first, if the county and seller are the same or very close I'd ask if the 3rd bdr was added by the previous owner. A conversion may not have had a permit.

Probably an error at the county, they concentrate on sq ft, not beds and may have been recorded wrong.

A lender usually does not check county records they go off the appraisal, that's their job. Title doesn't state it either.

I'd only be concerned with an illegal addition/rehab, and it may not be an issue in your area, so check with the county. It won't matter what it closed as last time. Depends on the county ho they treat such issues. Clear it up before you buy. :)

No such thing as "Closed prior as a 3 bedroom". Closing documents don't address building features. It's not a bedroom unless it has a closet and a window. It coul;d be an error, verify.

Thanks @Bill Gulley for the response. The sqft seems to match. We'll check into it before moving forward and get it cleared up.

There are some properties masquerading as having more bedrooms for a number of reasons, as @Bill Gulley posted.

One that I have also seen was a house being listed as a 3 bedroom on the MLS, but only 2BR on the assessor site; for both of those the square footage given was about the same. You see, there was a room on the 2nd floor that was probably used for sleeping, but by code it was not allowed to be a bedroom - there was no window. No window = no ventilation, and no egress in event of a fire; hence was not a bedroom. The listing agent called it a bedroom anyway apparently.

Keith: I think Steve Babiak has the answer. In my area in order for a living area to be used as a bedroom it needs to have 5 feet of headroom (finished floor surface to ceiling) and a window and a closet. The headroom requirement eliminates a lot of attic spaces being used as bedrooms even when there are access stairs. MOST assessors concentrate on gross living area to estimate value for assessment purposes rather than bedroom count.

Agreed as well, with Steve, it is common for an owner to use a room as a bedroom and consider it as such and as stated it needs to be a legal bedroom, average ceiling height 7', 90 sq ft I believe is a HUD requirement, window, a 3/0 I believe and a closet that opens into that room.

I have seen a room built that simply took in an existing above grade window and built a closet which worked fine in a basement and it was not permitted (permit not pulled), the sheetrock had to be cut for an electrical inspection, it passed, it was approved with some money.

@Keith A. ,
It is very common in Florida, that the garage has been converted into a bedroom.
It that is the case, make sure that a permit was obtained for the work.
Also check to see if there are any "open permits."


Thanks for the replies. This is great information that we can use when looking at these types of properties where things don't seem to add up.

@Raymond B. I do see these conversions a lot with older 2 bedroom houses where they turn the garage or carport into a room. We usually stay away from them unless it is something easy to be put back if it wasn't permitted.

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