May 23, 2007

"Excellent Potential" (And We Just Might Have To Agree)

1447 Funston

We haven't been inside (or seen the disclosures) be we are seeing the "excellent potential" in 1447 Funston (not to mention what appears to be the makings of an “unwarranted in-law” on the ground floor).

UPDATE (6/18): Sold on 6/15/07 for $920,000 (26.2% over asking).

∙ Listing: 1447 Funston (2/1) - $729,000 [MLS]

First Published: May 23, 2007 4:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

...and the losing bidder can call the building inspector and have the winning bidder tear out the in law and plug all of the plumbing to assure the city that it won't be rebuilt, or the city will come and do it for them and add the expense to their next property tax bill.

Posted by: tipster at May 23, 2007 6:12 AM

The property appears to be zoned RH-2.

http://www.municode.com/Resources/gateway.asp?pid=14145&sid=5

Posted by: Salarywoman at May 23, 2007 10:08 AM

Sorry. The above URL only gets you to the index. Check Zoning Map ZN06.

Posted by: Salarywoman at May 23, 2007 10:10 AM

Zoning is but one of the many reasons an unwarranted in law will get torn out. Another reason is code violations. Ceiling height looks a little suspect.

Of course, in all likelihood, the whole thing will get ripped out promptly to add one or two bedrooms anyway.

Posted by: tipster at May 23, 2007 10:32 AM

Great property in a great location, but I just happen to like Sunset.

But I need some education on zoning/laws here. Let's say the addition is not up to code or warranted, etc. If I'm the buyer, can't I keep the property as-is regardless of code? If it's my property, can't I remodel or add a room/bathroom without having it warranted if the next owner doesn't care?

Posted by: Dude at May 23, 2007 11:13 AM

Converting an attic or basement to habitable use requires permits. If you don't have a permit, and someone files a complaint, the city will send out a building inspector and you can then either get the permits and have them approved, by ripping a lot of the drywall out, showing that it was built to codes as they exist when you got the permit, and then putting it back, or you can tear the whole thing out.

I'm guessing that addition was not built to todays code, if it ever met any code. If the ceiling heights are insufficient, you'll need to dig, and probably involve some foundation work, or raise the building.

More here:
http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/dbi/Key_Information/19_CodeEnforcProcess07-02.pdf

So the answer is that you CAN remodel or do whatever you want, but if someone rats you out, you'll probably have to pull it out unless you got permits, and if it wasn't built to today's code, it's gonna get expensive to fix after everything is in.

Tenants evicted through the Ellis act would be a prime source of these kinds of complaints. This one looks vacant, but if there are tenants involved you'd be better off passing on the property or prepare to keep them very happy, and silent.

Would the loser of a vicious bidding war rat out the guy who beat him out? Who knows? Another 50 way bidding war on a purposefully underpriced property would seem to increase the likelihood.

Posted by: tipster at May 23, 2007 11:56 AM

I agree ceiling looks iffy, but it may just pass. The biggest problem is exiting. A door to the back yard with no way to then reach the street won't cut it. The sellers (or their realtor) obviously know this because the property is being marketed as a SFR with some "bonus rooms" down. But if the new buyers want two units (they probably don't) and are prepared to do some work, it's theoretically possible.

Regarding ratting, I don't think you can do this anonymously. The owners will know who turned them in. This doesn't seem to deter disgruntled tenants or (yes) family members but it probably would give a losing bidder (or realtor) pause.

Posted by: Salarywoman at May 23, 2007 12:41 PM

You can do it anonymously. Note the instructions for doing exactly that in the first bullet point (near the bottom of the page):

http://www.sfgov.org/site/uploadedfiles/dbi/COMPLAINT.pdf

A Realtor who didn't get the listing? A neighbor who didn't like the seller or doesn't like the buyer or doesn't want extra people parking on the street or in front of his home? The possibilities are endless...

So easy for the ratter. So expensive for the rattee...

I knew a family who lived on a block with this crazy old woman. Her tenants got into a fight with her and ratted her out and her illegal unit was torn out. She got mad about it and ratted out every building on the block. Everyone who had unpermitted in-laws (which was almost everyone on the block but my friends) got a visit from the building inspector and had to rip theirs out too. No benefit to the old woman: she just thought if this was happening to her, it should happen to everyone. They all knew it was her: no anonymity required.

Posted by: tipster at May 23, 2007 12:54 PM

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what Dude is asking -- but I think this is what he is looking for. You can do any work you want on your own home and you do not need a contractor's LICENSE (you do need one if you want to work on someone else's home). But you still need the proper PERMITS from DBI even if you are doing the work yourself, and everything must be done to code -- otherwise you face the consequences others describe.

Posted by: anon at May 23, 2007 1:23 PM

It used to be pretty hard to find out if lower level improvements were permitted - you had to take a trip down to the Building Department - put in a microfiche request, wait a week, and come back. Now a summary of recent permits is online (though it only goes back 20 years or so) so from now on it's easier to find out if a neighbor has illegal improvements. But the reality is that 2 out of 3 houses in this area (especially the western neighborhoods) have some kind of illegal improvements in the lower level - check how many MLS listings mention bonus rooms which are not warranted to be legal. The status quo is everyone just shuts up about them as everyone involved has something to lose (such as their own illegal improvements). True - a complaint will send an inspector out and eventually the situation will need to be rectified through demolition or brought up to code, but that is the exception rather than the norm. A losing bidder or an agent who didn't get the listing would have to be pretty evil to visit that kind of pain on a buyer they don't know for no reason - my understanding is that it usually involves neighbor disputes. At the very buyers should understand that these improvements can be required to be torn out, though it's not likely.

Posted by: Miles at May 23, 2007 3:50 PM

If my memory serves (I saw the listing agent last night) this property received 21 offers. Didn't go as high as the one over on 14th (which had 51 offers and closed for $1,050,000), but was bid substantially over asking.

Posted by: Cece Blase at May 24, 2007 10:47 AM

Cece had the scoop. Closed escrow on 6/15 with a contract price of $920,000 (26% over asking).

Posted by: SocketSite at June 18, 2007 11:40 PM

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