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Saturday, April 10, 2010

The "Non-Conforming" Catch-All

Missing by a Little -- Or a Lot?

What does a "non-conforming bedroom" look like?

When it comes to real estate listings, it could mean a lot of things.

At one extreme, a Realtor might list a bedroom as "non-conforming" because the egress window is smaller than allowed by code, or there's no closet.

At the other extreme, there is no egress window; you have to be a (short) child to stand up straight without hitting your head; there's no closet; the room is smaller than 8o square feet; and the walls, ceiling, and the floors are unfinished.

Oh, and there's no heat.

Call it "hitting the trifecta (plus)" of non-conforming.

Most Common: Too Short

In practice, "non-conforming" is perhaps most commonly associated with height issues.

So, the 1 1/2 story home has a finished Owner's Suite on the upper level, but the overhead averages less than 7.'

Or, the nicely finished lower level (basement) is just a tad low.

"Will it 'Fly'?" Test

Ultimately, whether to bill something as "non-conforming" or just omit it altogether (the more conservative approach) is a judgment call.

To paraphrase a popular line, "if, but for a technicality, it walks like conforming space, and quacks like conforming space, and looks like conforming space" -- it's reasonable to tout it to prospective Buyers, with the caveat that it's "non-conforming."

On the other hand, if prospective Buyers' collective reaction is likely to be "you've got to be kidding!" -- forget it.

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