How to determine "Duplex or guest house" and appraise the value?

3 Replies

I am analyzing a deal in Valley of Enchantment San Bernardino CA. Two houses on one lot with two different street #, one larger (2/2) and one smaller (2/1). The title report shows the total square footage, total room of 6, but only 2 bd and 2 ba, but not as two units. 1. How to determine if it's duplex or guest house (zoning is SFR) 2. How to value the deal if there is lack of 2 unit comps in the area? Can I just appraise the total square footage and bd/ba counts? Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

You really need to look at the property in person to determine what the situation is. Many people have built second houses on their properties in San Bernardino without the correct permits. If it is zoned SFR, but it has two individual addresses, then it is probably a non-conforming use duplex. That's fine, but the city is probably trying to lead the neighborhood in a different direction. I'm local to San Bernardino. My brokerage office is in downtown San B. If you need someone to check out the property, I'd be happy to help. My main advice would be to pull the construction permits if there are any. As far as appraising the house, I would believe that if the houses are not connected you can get a higher dollar amount for them together. If you can split the lot and sell them individually, you will be maximizing your return.

@David Friedman Thank you for your advice and offer. The two houses are detached. My understanding is one can legally build an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) on land zoned for SFR. The key is if it is permitted or legal. I need to call to find out. Do you know if an investor (other than the owner) can pull the construction permits from the County Building and Safety (Looks like the area is unincorporated and served by County). Anyway, really appreciate your input.

No problem, anytime. Yes, anybody should be able to pull the permits. They are public records.

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