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Old 12-06-2018, 08:50 AM   #1
CaptT820
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Default House Classification

Does anyone know the nuances of new house construction classification?

I ask this question because I am trying to determine when designing our new camp whether or not I should add on to the existing cabin or build an entirely separate new structure.

For tax purposes would it save money by adding on to existing, or build new, or does it not even matter? In our case setbacks and grandfathering do not matter as we are and will be beyond the 50-ft shoreland buffer regardless of what we build.

As of right now we are planning on connecting the existing cabin with a deck to the new structure, but if we have to add a roof over the deck or a room in between them to consider it an addition we certainly could modify things.

I just didn't know if anyone had experience with this. The tax code definitions are almost useless when it comes to this situation, as it seems like they treat every house differently.

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Old 12-06-2018, 08:54 AM   #2
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In order to answer please tell us the town you are in. As we all know each town has different building codes and a different method to assess property tax and valuation


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Old 12-06-2018, 09:20 AM   #3
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When I am not sure of what is permitted or legal I have had good luck working with the town building inspector.

Take a hand drawn sketch of your lot and the proposed construction footprint to your town's building inspector and ask them the questions. It is free, and it will also get them on board with what you would like to do. It is a lot easier to have them working with you than it is to fight through a project. In Gilford, Dave Andrade the Building Inspector has been excellent. When I have worked with him he told me what couldn't be done and made suggestions about what would work and be legal.

As far as the taxes, it makes a difference whether you add on or start again. The tax assessment will be on what the final product is valued at. Obviously, if the whole structure has been replaced with brand new the market value will be higher.

It will be reassessed after the construction is complete. When the Building Department issues the Occupancy Permit they notify the assessing office that it should be revalued.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:48 AM   #4
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We are located in Alton.

Thanks already for the responses. I'm not trying to cheapen out by getting around the tax codes, but just wanted to not overdo the addition/new construction and get a huge tax bill.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptT820 View Post
We are located in Alton.

Thanks already for the responses. I'm not trying to cheapen out by getting around the tax codes, but just wanted to not overdo the addition/new construction and get a huge tax bill.
As they say information is knowledge to make the best informed decision. Sorry not familiar to with Alton codes but there are many Alton residents here that will be able to help. As Tilton has said, contact your local building inspector.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:10 PM   #6
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Itís called opening a can of worms. You will have to bring the home up to code if you are adding bedrooms or baths. Septic updates. Been there twice in Massachusetts. If you can do without the existing home for a period of time a tear down is worth it. Adding a bath myself, removing as much of the brass fittings and copper waste pipe as I can access. Only adding to trouble years down the line if I donít


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Old 12-06-2018, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptT820 View Post
We are located in Alton.

Thanks already for the responses. I'm not trying to cheapen out by getting around the tax codes, but just wanted to not overdo the addition/new construction and get a huge tax bill.
Give the building inspector a call. Many of my friends have spoken to him to clarify questions. He'd much rather deal with potential problems up front.

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Old 12-06-2018, 08:45 PM   #8
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In terms of Real Estate value, a newly built home is always more because the entire structure meets 2018 building code requirements (and personal desires such as a well laid out kitchen, super insulation, etc.).

Tear down (and newly built) will almost surely cost more than adding on to an existing structure.

Keep in the back of your mind potential resale value; at some point (now or 50 years from now) you may decide to sell. Which is more marketable (all new, or a new used combination)...?


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Old 12-07-2018, 04:05 PM   #9
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The town Alton hires a company called vision appraisal to review and assess properties in town. The most expensive style of house to build is an adirondack followed by a modern contemporary. The lest expensive style is a ranch followed by a cape. It does not make much difference if you build a new house or remodel an existing house. An existing house will depreciate more than a new house. When I build my house a few years ago I contacted vision appraisal and they informed me of the above classifications. I built a ranch house and my assessment per sf is 3-4 times less than a comparable adirondack. Hope this helps
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:01 AM   #10
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Thanks Lakes Region Guy. I am well versed with what Vision Appraisal actually appraises (individual items like decks, docks, etc.), but I did not realize that they initially take your type of house into account.

I am trying to balance the design type and house finishes versus the overall tax impact. I have cataloged all of the houses in our area and compared different tax impacts to attempt to narrow down our house design.
We are probably going to go with a modified two story colonial in the 600-900 sq. ft range with moderate finishes just to keep the tax impact to a minimum.

I had asked the question about whether or not an addition to our current place would be cheaper versus a new independent structure connected by a deck, but based on your thoughts it appears to make little difference.

The information from everybody has certainly been helpful so far. The design of this place will continue to evolve.
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