How To Spot An Illegal Garage Conversion

bend oregon real estate

As a home buyer, one of the most important things that you should be on the lookout for when buying a Bend Oregon home is a garage that has been illegally added onto a home.

Over the years many garages have been added onto homes across Bend and they aren’t hard to spot if you know what to look for when you’re attending an open house.

Windows

The first “giveaway” that you’ve found an illegal garage in Bend is if there are one or more windows that were never boarded up or bricked over when the garage was added onto the home. Having a window that’s directly connected to the garage is dangerous especially when you consider the harm that can come from car exhaust fumes and other chemicals that are often used in a garage.

Hose Bib

Many illegal garage conversions will have the old hose bib inside the garage, instead of outside, or in front of the home. Keeping a hose bib inside the garage doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at first but it can present many water damage problems to the homeowner later on if it’s not moved.

Lack of Fire Barrier

Another common sign of an illegal garage conversion on a home in Bend is when there is no fire barrier between the home and the garage.

A fire barrier is a separate wall that’s constructed between the home and the garage to insure that the occupants of the home have enough time to evacuate the home if a fire does break out.

You’ve fallen in Love with the House, Now What?

Let’s say you’ve found a home in Bend and your home inspector has told you that the garage is an illegal add on, now what do you do? You can either ask the homeowner to bring the garage up to code before you purchase it or you can do the following:

Step 1 – Hire an architect to give you plans that will need to be followed for getting the garage up to date with building codes, planning regulations and zoning codes.

Step 2 – Contact a building contractor to get an estimate for construction on getting the garage up to code.

Step 3 – Take your plans or blue prints to the City of Bend for review and approval.

Most cities across the United States have firm deadlines for completion of projects like bringing illegal garage conversions up to code so if you ultimately do decide to purchase a home with an illegal garage conversion it’s important to keep that deadline in mind or risk the possibility of paying hundreds of dollars in fines until the work is completed. 

To learn more about buying a home in Central Oregon, or to view the latest Bend Oregon homes for sale, contact me today by calling: (541) 383-1426.

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