My question involves real estate located in the State of: New York, Nassau County, in an Unincorporated Village of the Town of Hempstead
I own a small cape cod and want every inch of uninhabitable space to be used efficiently. Doing so will free up the living space from items associated with activities not used on a daily bases and/or used seasonally. Therefore, I want to turn my unimproved attic and basement into extra, neat and clean, 'finished' space. The attic has a clearance of 7-1/4 feet under the peak and the basement as a clearance of 7-1/3 feet throughout; neither have any formal heating.
Since I want to move upon retirement, having these spaces spruced up and presented as extra 'finished' space will help market the house. However, since I am not in a position to pay for major construction or the next owner's renovations, I do not want to create any violations requiring costly code fixes and I do not want a buyer to say I did not disclose such. Given this, I am confused as to what turns uninhabitable, non-living space into habitable living space and have questions.
Is it the physical changes you make or how you label the intended use of these areas? If the former, how far can I 'finish' uninhabitable, non-living space before stepping over the line? If the latter, which labels are okay and which are not in order to keep a 'finish' space considered uninhabitable, non-living space? For examples: When is an office and office? Can I place my bill paying desk in a space without having to call it an office? What about my treadmill? Does creating a space for that make a gym? Does a gym constitute living space? What about hobby things? Is there a way to have this items on display and available for use in its own area without that space being considered habitable space?
Ideally, I want to divide the attic into his and her's hobby spots with a separate space for out of season storage. I would replace the existing vents with windows, insulate, sheet rock, run electric, install doors, and finish the floor. I want to divide the basement into a walk in pantry, laundry, and utility/tool sections with sheet rock walls. The remaining open space will be for exercise equipment with a TV and maybe my bill paying desk with the computer. I would paint the cement block foundation, put in a drop ceiling, and finish the cement floor. So the big question becomes...
What turns uninhabitable, non-living space into habitable living space? What do I need to know to avoid crossing over the line? If I do any of these things, particularly in the basement, will I have to 'fireproof' the furnace area. Thanks!