Blog Stories But Is It Legal?

But Is It Legal?

By Kim Parmon, December 12, 2019

It is super common in Portland to see homes with bedrooms on the second story.  Sometimes those bedrooms were part of the original floor plan of a home.  Often times, though, a previous owner during the home’s long history turned a former attic space into finished living space.

There are a couple of ways to tell if the second story square footage is legal or not.  If the head height on your staircase looks like this there’s a good chance the upstairs square footage isn’t legal:

Other signs include: low ceiling height throughout the finished space, stair treads that are either very shallow or very steep, and floor joists that are spaced too far apart.  Does this sound like a house you are looking at buying, or maybe one that you already own?  Fear not!  With some smart planning this issue can be resolved.

My clients bought the house pictured above.  They worked with an architect to change the pitch of the staircase by extending it further into the kitchen below and the hallway above.  When they finished this project the house went from being claustrophobic feeling without a functional floor plan to spacious and bright:

It was quite the transformation!  Changing this one element elevated the house considerably.  A new owner takes possession of this great house today.  I know she will enjoy the functional, usable second story, along with all the other great work my clients did.  Congratulations all around!

Kim Parmon

Principal Broker

Kim is the first person who will tell you she never expected to be a Realtor. She's had many creative jobs in the past and spent years as a high-volume bartender-turned-bar owner, which she feels gave her an essential skill that translates beautifully into her career in real estate: the ability to juggle 1,000 things at the same time while keeping everyone calm! She became obsessed with buying a house after the market crashed in 2009, finally buying her very first teeny-tiny dilapidated bungalow as a short sale in 2011. She and her husband, Matt, spent a few years fixing it up, then sold it for a profit and bought another project. And then they did it again. And the rest is history! Kim's talent for finding diamonds in the rough has made her into one of Portland's most sought-after investment Realtors. She loves seeing the missed potential in properties and has all kinds of tricks up her sleeve to find great investments but this talent is equally useful when it comes to traditional buyers and sellers. When you buy a home with Kim's assistance you can be sure that she is looking at all angles of the purchase to make sure it aligns with your financial goals as well as your lifestyle and she will stop at nothing to make sure you are taken care of! Some of her clients think she's gotten their offers accepted through sheer force of will! When you list a house with her she will go above and beyond to present your house in the best possible light to make sure you maximize your return on investment. Above all else, Kim prides herself on her integrity and believes that everyone deserves a caring Realtor partner who truly listens and tries to do what's right for her clients, even when no one is looking. She is thrilled to call this beautiful city home and can't wait to help you make your dreams come true through real estate.
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