Bridget's Blog


One Kitchen Plus One Kitchen Equals No Kitchens...The New Math

One Kitchen Plus One Kitchen Equals No Kitchens...The New Math

I am working with a gentleman in a bit of a pickle.  He has been living in his family home his whole life (over 40 years).  2 years ago, his mom had to go to a nursing home.  My client's name was never put on the title.   According to their Elder Care Attorney, because of the 5 year medicare look back, he will have to purchase the family home from his mother if he wanted to continue to live there.  He spent a lot of time researching his options, then researching lenders, now he is up against the clock. 

Our client had spoken to another lender, even locked with them (I found this out later), then met with my brother Tony and I.  It's a small loan, not a lot of money in it, but I was very pleased when he chose us over the other lender because of:

  1. His comfort level with our services and responses to his many questions by phone and email.
  2. He liked our team approach.  He liked that if one of us wasn't available, the other one was. 
  3. Our proximity to his home (he lives in East Baltimore, our mortgage office is on the Baltimore City, Baltimore County Line)

Once I found out that he had locked with the other lender, I suggested that he continue that loan (he hadn't signed any loan docs yet).  Even though the rate was better than we could offer (due to market volatility) he felt the other lender lacked continuity, there were too many hands in his file, and lack of a face to face option (they are in Virginia), he chose to move forward with us.

We had no challenges with the borrower, credit scores in the 800's, a debt to income ration BELOW 20%, assets galore, 20% down, conventional mortgage, urgency.  A dream client!

We knew we had some challenges with the property.  The family home was originally built as a 2 unit, but has been used as a single family property since the 1970's.  We researched the zoning and determined that the property would be considered a one unit.  Phew!

The appraisal came in slightly above the contract price.  We thought we were in the clear.

Unfortunately, the property has two kitchens, one on the 2nd floor and one in the basement that is below-grade.  The 2nd floor kitchen has had the stove removed, so was not considered a kitchen. 

The underwriter reviewed the property, determined that the since below grade square footage is not considered in the gross living area, the kitchen (the one that has been used as a kitchen for over 40 years) does not exist, or really just can't be considered.   The 3rd floor kitchen is not a kitchen because it had no stove so....we are in a pickle.

Tony is going to meet with our client at his home on Saturday morning to determine if the stove can be moved from the basement to the 2nd floor. I have a call in to another mortgage lender to determine if they can underwrite the loan if we can't resolve the issue in a satisfactory manner.  We have researched the guidelines and can't find any that say that a below grade kitchen in a walk out can't be counted.  We have a call into Fannie Mae, and now I am asking for your help. 

Maryland Appraisers, Home Inspectors, Realtors, Any Suggestions??

Sure would love to be able to get this loan closed, I know that my client wants to stay in the home he has been in for so long.  I know that his mom would have peace of mind knowing her son was able to buy the home since there is some guilt over not putting his name on the home years ago.  It's not a big loan but it sure seems like...

One Kitchen Plus One Kitchen Equals No Kitchen...The New Math  is not math that makes sense!



Warm Regards,

Bridget McGee  Maryland Mortgage Mama  NMLS# 196068  SWBC Mortgage.   410-960-2061 EHO or


If you are considering purchasing a home in Maryland and want to be sure you are mortgage ready, my brother Tony and I will be happy to help! We help to make the mortgage process a pleasure! 

If you already own your home, we are happy to provide a no-cost mortgage review to help you to determine if refinancing may be in your best interest.  Please contact me at 410-960-2061.

Comment balloon 7 commentsBridget "Mortgage Mama" McGee • August 05 2011 07:46PM


Wow good luck with this Bridget. Wish I had more information. I have a feeling you'll find a way to make this happen for this so deserving man.  You are so awesome....the best!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000) almost 9 years ago

Bridget: Fingers crossed that stove can be moved! Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) almost 9 years ago

OY VEY BRIDGET!!!  You do have a bit of a pickle.  Can't say I have ever had a scenario just like yours.  Had a similar one earlier this year, a property zoned as a duplex but turned into a triplex and the deal breaker was the third kitchen.  Never did get that closed (nor did I have any other lending source that would take it) and the seller had no intention of ripping out the third kitchen.  Don't even get me started on how I told all the parties from the get-go this was going to be an issue.   AAARRRGGGHHH!!! 

I don't know what your market is like there in VA but here in Los Angeles & Ventura counties, property conditions are the bane of my existence.  Have had far too many transactions cancelled this year because of sub-par property conditions.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) almost 9 years ago

It sounds like there IS a kitchen, but the appraiser wants to be difficult. That's a true head shaker!!!!!

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Bridget--Just put all the appliance in same room with sink & hopefully you will be home FREE.  I had similar problem with property that had bee two family years ago and still had two kitchens.  Bottom line all appliances and sink had TO GO.  That was before the current mtg conditions.  Good luck.

Posted by Mary Yonkers, Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor (Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Hi Bridget, that is a bizarre problem! Sounds like something that would happen on one of my deals! I would say put a stove in the 2nd floor kitchen for the appraisal. Sorry I couldn't be more help. Let us know how this all works out. Good Luck! :)

Posted by Mike Mitchell, REALTOR (R) (Real Living Kee Realty) almost 9 years ago

Anna, Thanks for the kind words, the loan is going to "loan committee".  We found that this property is not as unique as thought, hopefully the lender will see things our way.

Anne,  That seems to be the expectation in the lending world today!  We do our best to make it easy for the u/w to make the right decision for the borrower.  This is a great loan on a good property.  Fingers and toes are crossed!

Donne, with the new appraisal rules coming down the pike my advice it to hold on, it's going to get even more challenging!

Ellie, the appraiser said it was a kitchen, but also said it was unique.  We are finding that "terrace kitchens" are not all that unique in the area! 

Mary,  The issue is that than the kitchen would be on the 2nd floor, I think that would also be considered unique!

Mike, You may be right, we are providing lots of extra info to the underwriting team.  I am hoping they will see it our way!  Look out for the follow up!


Posted by Bridget "Mortgage Mama" McGee, Maryland Mortgage Mama NMLS#196068 (SWBC Mortgage 410-960-2061) almost 9 years ago