When asking questions on remodeling your property, you may want to talk to more than one department

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Respect Realty LLC 200311024

Recently, one of my clients got real lucky when they went to buy some kitchen cabinets.  Instead of making a huge commission and keeping their mouth shut, the salesman advised my clients that they should talk to another department at the county.


You see, what had happened was my clients were looking to have a daycare in their basement and was given the green light on that as long as it had its own kitchen since there was going to be more than 5 children in this daycare. They were given the green light to do all this from the business department, but wasn’t done was getting the permission from the building department.

It seems that despite the business department saying it is alright and it’s is done all the time, the code says otherwise and this personat the cabinet shop knew it. The cabinets were alright, but the stove and the sink they were planning to put in would have been not ok with the building and code department.

So, my clients saved thousands by not putting in a kitchen that would have had to be taken out. It seems even though my clients had a legit reason for putting the second kitchen in, it seems the county sees it as a duplex or a second living quarter which is not allowed.

So, before you make major changes to your home for a home business, make you talk to all departments involved or it could cost you thousands. 


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Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Great post, doing your "homework" on any project can be a lifesaver.  Glad that your clients got some good advice!  

It's always critical that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.  

Love the picture of the retro kitchen.  

All the best, Michelle


Jan 25, 2010 05:37 AM #1
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

In Virginia apart from getting county permission if you live in HOA community you have to get their permission also. Thanks for sharing

Jan 25, 2010 05:37 AM #2
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Thanks for the post Todd. It's nice to see there are still people out there who are honest and despite a commission loss, did the right thing. That is what I call excellent customer service and good things will come back to that person!

Jan 25, 2010 05:47 AM #3
Art Marine
Mortgage Solutions Financial - Lake Oswego, OR
Loans that Fit your Life

I wonder how many of these type of kitchens are out there and the building department never finds out.  I bet a lot!

Jan 25, 2010 05:47 AM #4
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Hey Lucy! Can I have some orange juice*?

Love the 50's kitchen and the values of that kitchen salesmen!


*What we use to call OJ.

Jan 25, 2010 06:56 AM #5
Liz Loadholt
Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC - Mount Pleasant, SC
Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC

Todd ---- wow -- thank goodness that the salesman was an honest guy. This post has very sound advice.

Jan 25, 2010 07:55 AM #6
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Todd, this is excellent advice.  We have similar codes here.  It's always better to check with the necessary departments.

Jan 25, 2010 02:12 PM #7
Dan Edwards 425-276-7008
Keller Williams Realty - Bellevue - Bellevue, WA

You mean government agencies don't coordinate... who would have thought!  It is always good to understand who is really in charge of what you can do with your home.  Start at the guys at the department of land use, then the code enforcement guys, finish with the business guys, in that order.

Jan 25, 2010 02:13 PM #8
Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

Great advice getting all the departments in agreement before you spend the money.

Jan 25, 2010 03:32 PM #9
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

It's always a good thing to talk to different departments or even different people in the same department when it comes to getting the right information.  It's amazing how many times you get different answers to the same problem just because you restated the question.

Jan 26, 2010 11:18 AM #10
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Sad part is government has gotten to big to know what the other hand is doing. You can have 15 different departments, 15 different rules and each one tells you what you can't do with your property.

Jan 27, 2010 12:13 AM #11
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Not only that but, the government workers have no liability!  They can tell you anything and if they are completely wrong.....oh well....

Jan 27, 2010 12:54 AM #12
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