Get the most out of an existing residential property
Treat a real estate property as an investment regardless it's initial destination
In most of the CityStructure reports we generate for our clients we see opportunity for development even within the existing envelop of the building. Ground floor areas or garage conversions are the perfect cost-effective solution for anyone who wants more space but doesn't want to extend. In order to allow property owners to cost-effectively add livable space to their homes, while avoiding the creation of illegal residential units, San Francisco planning department has developed a Matrix (see below) to review the applications.
First, start by checking how the zoning regulations influence the value of your property.
The Matrix may be a little confusing. Before checking the boxes that may apply to your improvement project, decide on these:
- If the rooms are part of a new building proposed for construction (i.e., the entire building has not been constructed yet), use the two columns of the matrix labeled “NEW BUILDING”. If the rooms are proposed for an existing building, use the two columns of the matrix labeled “ALTERATION”. Make sure you have the minimum height clearance between the floor and the ceiling (min. 7’-6” clearance from the top of the finished floor to the bottom of the beams or joists);
- Next determine the type of interior connection between the ground and upper floor that exists (or is proposed) – “OPEN”, “LIMITED” OR “NO” – and use the rows to the right where you will see four features listed.
- Finally, determine whether the access from the ground floor rooms is “DIRECT” or “INDIRECT” and look down that column. Whether the building is proposed for new construction or is existing and proposed for alteration; the type of access from the proposed rooms to the street and the type of visual and spatial connection proposed between the ground floor rooms and rooms on the main floor of the unit (usually the floor above the ground floor)
Happy with the areas you may be allowed to add? Here are few design ideas...
Now that you are clear about what you would want and what may be allowed to have based on the Planning Department matrix, it's time to get ready for the permit process. Here are the submittal guidelines. Don't get discouraged by the amount of information you'd have to prepare to get the permit. Small architectural studios can help you in this process for a modest fee. Remember to always keep in mind the outcome of this remodeling project. The excitement will help you overlook the hard work, time and additional costs you'd have to invest to complete the project.