As a real estate agent that works with clients who own real estate in the Snoqualmie Valley, including Fall City, Carnation, Snoqualmie, North Bend and Duvall one of the tips we share with our clients is to make sure you have permit before your start your work, or tear down an existing building. Why? Because it is easier to get permits to remodel than to build new and in some cases your building may be grandfathered in, and with new rules you may not be able to build what you want where you want.
The Fall City Library has been torn down, and they held the groundbreaking June 13th 2007. The Director gave a speech and said that they do not have permits to rebuild the library yet. What a waste. The Fall City Library has been moved into a cramped temporary location for the summer, when the kids are out of School and could be using the old building. Now the time line for the new building is up in the air, and the level of service that the library system can offer in the mean time has been reduced. It sounds like poor planning to me.
In Fall City, The Colonial Inn Restaurant was purchased and the new owners started to do some updating, when the Seattle King County Health Department decided that they needed to update the septic system before they would sign off so that they could get a permit from the Department of Development and Environmental Services to remodel. They have been closed for a year and a half so far. The word is that they have come up with a solution for the septic system but now they are waiting on the permit to remodel. Wouldn’t it have been nicer for the owners if they had been able to be open during this time?
Lets take a look at two parcels of land. One piece has an old mobile home on it, that will reduce the mitigation fees for the buyer, and one had an old house on it that was torn down and not replaced. If they were the same price which one is the better value? Well the one with mobile home has the potential to be rented out while the new owner goes through the permit process for their new home. The mobile will also have lower mitigation fees that should more than offset the cost of removing the mobile. As for the other piece of land, if they had not torn down the old house was there they could go in for a remodel permit, but now they have to start the process from scratch and do not have the benefit of having a house to rent out while they work out the details with the county. So in my opinion the lot with the mobile becomes the better value.
What does this have to do with you? If you have an old cabin, house or out building on your property that you think does not add value to it and you are getting ready to sell, do not tear it down before you check with your agent for advice. You could always leave it up and if the buyer wants it taken down negotiate it. By having an existing dwelling on the property it could reduce the school or road mitigation fees for the buyer, and could let them build in an area of the property that otherwise would be off limits. So don’t assume it doesn’t have value. Make sure first.