I inspected a property with a "newly renovated basement apartment."
It was a very nice-looking place. Usually though, with remodels, you see signs that things were not thought out quite clearly.
Take the example here. This is the furnace closet. It was tucked away in the only place they allowed for it. They didn't think it through in two ways.
First, because of the depth of the closet, the heat pump is situated the only way they could. Which would be fine, except that
1. Only about half of the filter can be removed from its slot and
2. There is only 13" of work space in front of the unit.
Most manufacturers require at least as much space in front of any furnace as the furnace is deep in order to get to it for repairs and/or easy removal upon replacement. The rule of thumb is 30" or more.
Second, they selected an 80 gallon water heater. This would be fine, except that it is very fat. This soaks up much space in the closet that it encroaches on the furnace and sticks out so far they cannot install doors!!
This closet is too small for these two appliances!
And the beat goes on, and on, and on...
Oh, there was no water heater in the house above. Apparently this unit was sized to serve both the apartment and the landlord's house above! So the renter, maybe without realizing it, would be paying the hot water bill for the landlord above!
There are two electric meters servicing this house. So the lower-level apartment will clearly have its own electric bill. I don't know if this was intentional or an oversight, but it's cute! It's nice when someone else pays a part of your bill!
Do you see the cable hanging down? There is one wire nut over the black (hot) wire. AND IT IS HOT! I licked it to make sure... Okay, I have a little tester, which saves my tongue from time to time.
My real concern: THEY HAD A PERMIT AND ALL THESE THINGS WERE APPROVED BY THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES!
My recommendation: When you buy or sell a unit with a "newly renovated basement apartment," have it checked out! Home inspectors can usually spot the glaring things, and not so glaring things, overlooked or not completely thought out!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560