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Top 3 Real Estate FAQ via Quora

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Blog by Ray Smiley | September 27th, 2012

There are many questions people have about real estate and sometimes it's hard to find quick answers. So let's go through 3 questions we thought may be useful for you.

How are floorplans measured in an asymetric room?

Look at the images.

The triangle I presume is the average "width", but what about the studio that goes in and out in all sorts of places?

I'm talking not about the area, but the actual room width and lengths that are quoted. In the bottom drawing for instance the width could be measured in about 4 different places.



To measure square footage of interior spaces with angled walls, you need to draw an imaginary rectangle in order to arrive at the remaining square footage.
To get the square footage of the floor at the angled wall, measure the length  and width as if the diagonal wall split your rectangle from oposite corners of  your rectangle. In other words: length times width divided by two equals the  square footage of this area. Then add it to all your other calculated  rectangles.
For odd areas the same applies. Make a rectangle and subtract out the excluded area of the rectangle. 

Split irregular shapes into easy-to-calculate areas.


-Thomas Godwin

If my landlord has declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the court has decreed that his debt has been discharged, is there anything I can do to get my security deposit back? 


"Unfortunately you're probably SOL. A security deposit in California is a debt owed by the landlord to the tenant. If the court has granted 
discharge of the landlord's debt under 11 USC Section 727, that means it's essentially wiped out.

You might be able to fight it in court by hiring a bankruptcy lawyer in SF, but unless it's a very large deposit, it may not be worth incurring any legal fees. (There are tenants' rights organizations that may be able to give you further information without having to consult a lawyer.) "

-Antone Johnson 

What are the main things I should be thinking about when considering building a house?


Sure, it's gonna cost more than just buying something we can move into, right? Or is it? What other factors are the first ones I should consider in the buy land/build vs buy/move right in decision?


"First, and most importantly, plan to build more than one house! My mother-in-law planted the seed that "it takes 3," to get it right. 

I have three general pieces of advice to people considering their first build:

  1. Building a house involves compromises. I'm sure some people get "everything" they want, but I don't know anyone who has. You will compromise with your budget, the City, your contractor and definitely your spouse/partner (or if you're single, the devil on your shoulder).
  2. When possible, have 2X the budget available in cash. I've been fortunate enough to build two homes. I ran out of cash on the first and had to compromise in a few places (e.g. finishes, countertop materials, furniture). Our second project ran +20% to budget, which seemed reasonable considering the trade-offs we made.
  3. Write a story of how you live and use it to guide the architect. What do you/your family do in the morning? Where do you leave your bags at night? Do you have small or big parties? Where will the dog door go? It's also interesting to build a narrative for the house itself, what's the story that evoked the architecture?

It's also important is to research the jurisdiction you want to build in. Speak to neighbors. Map out the City or County planning process which will govern the project. For example, some cities have an architectural review process where neighbors can kill your project; other cities require landscape screening. Although not critical, I recommend hiring an architect who has built in the jurisdiction previously. In some instances, this makes obtaining approvals easier (or more expeditious)."

-Andy Barton