Need advice about my inherited home-Washington, DC

12 Replies

I inherited my home of 60yrs and it is a total gut to the studs/$200,000 job. I have a contractor but need an architect who will do what I want, not what they want done to my asset.  

I live there in a beautiful habitable portion, English basement, which is new. I have someplace to move to during construction phase. It is my primary residence.

I know I need to consult with acct but does anyone in DC know tax implications in converting to a 2unit rental. I know I will be low balled by developers and it is a $1,000,000 shell in 20016, on prime street.with lots of development now.

I started demoing upstairs myself, wondering if I should keep going...

Thanks in advance.

There is not a lot of $1 million shells in the city. Its likely you are overestimating the value.

Conversions to multifamily are not allowed post 2012.  Condo conversion or adu may be possible depending on the zoning.

So an ADU is a granny flat for a relative? There are $1,000,000 shells in my ‘hood. I have known the owners personally for 60yrs and grew up with the children and still in contact with them socially.

Living on-site in an ADU and renting out the upstairs is completely legal and will not jeopardize either your Class 1 Residential assessment, your homestead exemption, or any senior property tax relief you may be qualified for.

There are some local architects who have ADU experience; you might find some recommendations at the DC-based CSG's ADU forum.

Thank you so much everyone! I will be in touch to find DC resources as ARCHITECT'S, CONTRACTORS.  The 1Architect who sent me a proposal wanted a huge retainer(non-refundable) And was going to present 3 plans. I just need 1 plan for building dept. I know all of the warts, nooks, crannies in the house. 

@Linda Miller

I am a DC Architect and do a few of these types of projects every year. When I meet with clients they usually have an idea of what they want. However, the final permit set is never what was originally envisioned. This happens for various reasons such as the budget, the zoning code, structural implications and so forth. I usually give a client 2-3 options. One is more or less what the client wants and another is where I think areas could be improved.

Depending how big the project is you will need an Architect and maybe a structural engineer, and MEP engineer. It sounds like you want to add an ADU so you will need two electrical meters, the floor between the units will need to be fire rated, verify existing water meter/service is the correct size, lot occupancy and a few more items that need to be well thought out.

I would be happy to continue the conversation if you need more guidance.

Good Luck.

Thanks for chiming in @Eric Teran . You said much of what I was going to say. 

@Linda Miller - I think you are discrediting the process of an architect getting your property to where you want it. You may know exactly what you want within your head but to flush this idea out, multiple iterations is commonplace. Part of this process is coming to an appropriate and complaint design, with zoning & code research, municipality filing and construction oversight to complete your project. 

Architects follow very details codes, ordinances, bulletins, etc. and other industry standards to provide interior and exterior spaces that are safe for utilization by all. Hopefully you link up with Eric or another good local architect whom will work with you as part of your team to get your project done successfully. 

You can use this directory from the AIA to search Architects in your area:   

Going to an architect and asking for one plan, exactly to way you want it, and telling them you don't want to see any other options is a recipe for disaster and very few architects will even take on a job like that. Thats like going to the doctors, telling them you know whats wrong with yourself and then telling them to write you a prescription for s very specific medication that you selected yourself. You don't want any tests done and don't what the doctor to look at different medication. 

The fact that you never heard of ADUs is exactly why you need an architect. There are SOOOO many codes that come into play when you are converting a SFR to a MFR. There's no reason you should know theses. Theres literally hundreds, if not thousands, of potential combinations of codes that could easily be over looked and really turn and bite you later. Not to mention they change almost every year. But thats the architects job to know these and to design a plan that meets both your wants and needs as well as gets you a permit. Most architects do not fit the stereotype of the ones you see in the movies (or the famous one your actually hear of). They don't design what ever they want and ignore the clients wishes. Besides...only the top 1% of the 1% could actually afford a design that was completely left in the architects hands and mind lol. They are way more budget conscious than any contractor ever is.

No, $$$$ is certainly not an object and I have lived in the home for 60yrs and now own free and clear.  . The other homes on block have been rehabbed and now ADUs and I do not like how they were designed at all. The prior owners did everything in the 1970’s without permits or historical board oversight.   They looked like garbage before the new owner rehabbed. 

1 of the architects had planned to remove entire rear of house. He insisted it had been a screen porch. My parents saw the homes being built in 1926 and this is not the case.  This is not what I wanted at all, completely unnecessary for the ADUs I am offering  and my target market. 

Thank you Eric.  I will be in touch soon. I had my long term contractor who has worked in home before, look at the project. It was a yr ago and he said it is a $150,000 job bec I am not doing the attic like others on block did, raising the roof to 8’.  The English  basement is finished done already and this is where I live.  

. I trust my contractor very much  He will do what I want but have to get an architect.

I have a target market of grad/medical students, young millennial professionals  of the abundance if 5***** universities in downtown DC and they do not expect bells and whistles, just new, modern,  comfortable places consistent with $100,000 student loans that they have. And parking if course