Author Topic: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment  (Read 5480 times)

Shropskr

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Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« on: July 10, 2014, 06:08:42 PM »
Due to living on the side of a hill our "crawl space" the space under our house as 7 foot ceilings or more.  I live in Seattle and have never done any building.  How do I go about converting this?

I did read the city codes.  They said keep it under 1000 sqft and live in one unit.  An architect friend glanced at it.  Said very surprised "yup  you accually could do it"


bogart

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 09:43:45 PM »
Does it have a floor?  If it's unfinished on an earth floor (as what we call crawlspaces where I live are), converting it will likely be complicated and expensive.


Shropskr

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2014, 10:06:07 PM »
It's earth. No floor.  Sorta walls ie copies of the weight bearing walls from above, but just frames.

Goldielocks

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2014, 10:37:49 PM »
Its a big job..  You need floor, insulation, weeping tile or guaranteed drainage, to prevent mold, finished wall and ceiling.  HVAC system, electric sub panel, sound proofing, drainage for washroom, kitchen, etc...  Windows, and will end up with modest rent for lowish ceiling.

You may be better off renting a spare room in your home and using the crawl space for your own use like laundry, workshop, office, etc.

Shropskr

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 10:48:38 PM »
Currently only access is through a ladder in the closet of a bedroom.
So an outside door would have to be built.

Here in my area.  1 bedrooms rent for at least $1000, 2 bedrooms for $1300.

I'm 5 foot.  Can't touch the ceilings with hands extended and could jump And still have space.  It's crazy how much room there is in this crawl space.  No one ever believes me till they see it.

Due to the hill were on it would be a ground level apartment.  Maybe 2-3 steps down at front door. 

Shropskr

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 10:52:32 PM »
Would I want architect quotes or contractor quotes for best guesses as to what it would take?

Would it significantly add to the houses selling value?


BFGirl

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2014, 07:21:12 AM »
I would definitely get quotes.  I'm not sure the value of the home would increase by the costs of the remodel, but if you could rent it you may be able to recoup the costs that way. 

Also your property taxes would likely increase because you would have more finished space in your house.

rebel100

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 08:43:16 AM »
I know nothing about your area.....but assuming a dry basement this may not be terribly onerous.  Some thoughts and questions....

I wonder if mesh reinforced concrete will satisfy any building dept. regulations....this can be formed up and pumped in rather economically.

You will need a door and (most likely) egress windows.

How will you accommodate a bath and kitchen plumbing?

Will your electric service handle the added load?  What will it cost to upgrade?

How will you divide the space and what will the apartment look like?  Figure the cost and feasibility of this?

I love projects like this, creating something valuable from an unused space...awesome way to create passive income!



Daleth

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2014, 09:41:40 AM »
Also, have you checked with zoning? Is it ok to have another unit in your house? If not automatically ok, what's the process you would have to go through to get it allowed?

partgypsy

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2014, 12:00:17 PM »
I live in a (high density) residential and we have people in my immediate neighborhood renting garage apartments and also rooms in houses. If you still live in your house I don't think this will be a big problem.
The difficult thing will be constructing the apartment to be in code. Just by building with drainage, subfloor and floor, you will be at less than 7 feet which will not be to code. Or you will have to get a digger under your house (more expense and may affect your foundation). It may actually be less expensive to build a straight addition.

I would get some solid quotes on what is actually involved before you proceed.


Daleth

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 02:03:54 PM »
I live in a (high density) residential and we have people in my immediate neighborhood renting garage apartments and also rooms in houses. If you still live in your house I don't think this will be a big problem.

Where do you live? Whether it's a problem while you live there depends entirely on local zoning regs, your local zoning board, and your neighbors (are they nosy? do they not like you? do they not like people using their houses in less conventional ways? If the answer to any of those is yes, they may make a complaint and you may be forced to evict your tenant). Depending on the location and the situation you could even be forced to pay to UNDO the work you did to convert the space, because if zoning doesn't permit that unit to be added to your house, you by definition will not have gotten a valid permit for it.

And when you go to sell the house, on the seller's disclosure forms I've seen you have to state whether you made any changes to the house and if so, did you do it with valid permits and consistent with local zoning, or not?

The difficult thing will be constructing the apartment to be in code. Just by building with drainage, subfloor and floor, you will be at less than 7 feet which will not be to code. Or you will have to get a digger under your house (more expense and may affect your foundation). It may actually be less expensive to build a straight addition.

With that I totally agree. If the ceiling is 7 feet now, it certainly will be a good deal less once the floor, drainage etc. is installed.

Trudie

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 02:08:46 PM »
Sounds fraught with potential problems to me.  First, the ceilings will be pretty low after you do sub-floor and ceiling, especially with mechanicals.

In our area of the country (Iowa) crawl spaces are nightmares from an environmental standpoint.  First, there is huge flooding and seepage risk.  Second, there are usually hazardous radon issues to be mitigated.

Sorry to be a negative nelly, but it really sounds like a money pit to me.  It would be fine as an occasional use structure (laundry, utility, workshop, or studio), but to live in??? Not so much.

Jack

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 02:37:30 PM »
If you're going to do it, do it right and dig it out to at least 8' finished ceiling height.

Talk to your contractor and your real estate agent to make sure the idea is profitable enough before you start.

Goldielocks

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 05:21:41 PM »
Currently only access is through a ladder in the closet of a bedroom.
So an outside door would have to be built.

Here in my area.  1 bedrooms rent for at least $1000, 2 bedrooms for $1300.

I'm 5 foot.  Can't touch the ceilings with hands extended and could jump And still have space.  It's crazy how much room there is in this crawl space.  No one ever believes me till they see it.

Due to the hill were on it would be a ground level apartment.  Maybe 2-3 steps down at front door.
. 6 inches to build up a real floor, maybe 6 inches for ceiling.  New height is 6 ft.  Doable, but the cost, wow.


arebelspy

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2014, 09:29:46 AM »
I'm sure this popped into my head because of my real estate background, but if I were you I'd network with some real estate rehabbers in your area.  They'll know the local laws, they'll be able to tell you what needs to be done, and about how much it'll cost.  A good source of general knowledge for the project, and likely a good way to get contacts for contractors to get it done.
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Greg

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Re: Turning "crawl space" into rental appartment
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 01:40:26 PM »
7'6" is code minimum for living spaces, not counting occasional intrusions into that space like beams supporting stuff above.  So regardless you'll have to digout a fair amount.