Author Topic: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot  (Read 1718 times)

Penelope Vandergast

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De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« on: May 31, 2016, 09:13:58 PM »
Unusual situation: My house and my neighbor's house are on the same lot. Both properties are deeded as condos, not single family houses -- even though they are, in fact, single family houses. We share a water meter, a driveway, and a common area between the houses, but nothing else. We do not pay a condo fee and do not have a bank account for the condo association anymore, as we never used it -- we have a good relationship and have just worked out whatever needs to happen between us.

My neighbor now wants to sell his house. (We live in an east coast city where the market is very hot right now and prices have been going up in our neighborhood by about 5% a year. I expect a developer will buy his house and do a gut renovation.) If it's not too expensive, we are both interested in "de-condoizing" the 2 properties and dividing the lot between us.

I want to do this for privacy and to give myself some recourse should the new owners be awful. (The houses are pretty close together, and sharing the water/sewer bill as we do now, for instance, could quickly go south.) He wants to do it because he thinks he can get a better price for his house.

What should we be thinking about? I know we will have to probably get the land surveyed and property lines drawn, and that everything will also have to conform to zoning rules. We will also have to figure out the water situation -- not sure how they can split the line so that I have a separate meter. My neighbor is concerned about the impact on property taxes.

I am also interested in buying a portion of the common area between the houses so that my house has a proper front yard. (His house is in front, mine is in back, and there is about 18 feet between them, so it's not a huge space -- I'm guessing that setback rules may make this difficult since there will have to be both egress from his house through the back door as well as a required amount of space from the back of his house to the prospective property line.) I do have a side yard which is a a decent size for the city and is pretty nice, and he has a front and side yard.

Thanks for any insights!


fishnfool

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Re: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2016, 04:55:55 AM »
Most of this will depend on your local zoning rules and depend on how easy or difficult your planning dept is to work with. It might not be possible or it would have been split previously. Sometimes adding a additional water meter to a property is very expensive too and your neighbor is right about the taxes increasing as well. I've never liked CPR type properties for reasons like this, there is always something that might come up between neighbors to cause issues.

A phone call or visit to your local planning dept will answer your question...good luck!

Dee18

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Re: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2016, 10:50:22 AM »
As fishnfool says, check zoning first.  My sister lived in a neighborhood in Dallas where there were many of these and they could not be decondoized due to zoning....the only way they could build two houses on one lot in the first place was by making them condos. YMMV

KMB

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Re: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 12:48:57 PM »
Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on what this is going to take to get done. How quickly is your neighbor hoping to move? Do you know if your new lots will conform to zoning minimums? Some zoning codes will require that your house face the street, which it sounds like it does not currently do.

Tap fees for water service can be expensive depending on municipality. Don't be surprised to see a $5k tap fee that does not include a contractor actually running the connections. What about your sanitary line? Hopefully those are already connected to the street individually and you aren't running your line into his house on the way to the street. Gross.

You'll be seeing some benefit from splitting this lot, so you should probably offer to contribute financially, but I wouldn't offer to split 50/50 if your neighbor is pushing for this to happen now.

You should also understand the property tax implications, but these are highly local. The assessor could ding you badly if they were so inclined. How much has your home appreciated? Does your state currently cap assessment increases? Will this lot split cause the property to become un-capped?

How do you get insurance for your house if it is part of a condo association? You should be insuring the condo through the association. I would double check that you're actually covered.

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2016, 08:50:47 PM »
Thanks all. Yes, we are insured and you are right, it's as a condo association. Neighbor doesn't want to move for another 18 months or so, so we have time to figure out if doing this makes sense. If the water line ends up being crazy expensive that would probably be the deal-killer. (I have no idea where our waste line goes out...I never heard of it being anything other than normal though!) It occurred to me that we'd probably also have to create another driveway and there's not that much room...sigh. Still worth checking out at least!

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2016, 09:00:58 PM »
Also, the neighborhood lore (both houses were built in 1915) is that one family originally built both houses for their own use. The investor that eventually bought them back in the 1990s apparently bought them from the original family. I have no idea if he tried to decondo-ize at that time, or if in fact the houses BECAME condos at that time so he could sell them individually. Maybe someday I'll root through all the old property records and figure it out.

There are at least 2 other places like this in the neighborhood, one on the same street even -- and this one has a 3-family and another little SF house all squashed on the same lot.

KMB

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Re: De-condoizing 2 single families on 1 lot
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2016, 07:28:46 AM »
It occurred to me that we'd probably also have to create another driveway and there's not that much room...sigh. Still worth checking out at least!

Not necessarily. Split the lot fee simple and share driveway access. If the driveway is entirely on the other home's property you could create an easement for your access. Make sure to record this on the property deed.