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Section 2: Alternatives

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Overview

To be considered comparable, an available replacement dwelling should be the same type structure as the displacement dwelling (e.g., single family, apartment, duplex). When possible, select comparables from properties available in areas similar to the displacement dwelling (e.g., urban or rural). A multi-use property may require a residential carve-out to establish the displacement dwelling value. Consider the following alternatives, in the order listed, when selecting comparables.

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Alternative A

DSS housing functionally equivalent to, or better than, the displacement dwelling and available on the open market.

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Alternative B

DSS housing that can be made comparable to the displacement dwelling. The construction costs to add features (e.g., a garage, central heating and air conditioning, improvements needed to accommodate the handicapped) to make the dwelling functionally similar to the displacement dwelling will be added to the probable sales price of the comparable before calculating the supplement. In unusual circumstances, costs to add one or two rooms to an existing house may be used. Such additions must be carefully analyzed to assure that the work will produce a dwelling architecturally and functionally compatible with the area.

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Alternative C

Available non-DSS housing may be rehabilitated to make it DSS, thereby making it comparable. This alternative will require explanation, on forms ROW-R-106 and ROW-R-107, of the reasons (e.g., physical condition, number of rooms, available square footage) why the replacement dwelling is not considered to be a DSS dwelling. An itemized cost of rehabilitation to make it comparable must be included. This alternative should not be used when the total rehabilitation cost exceeds the cost of new construction or if a dwelling not architecturally and functionally compatible with the area would be produced.

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Alternative D

New construction that would produce a functionally equivalent dwelling with respect to total rooms, square footage, and auxiliary features may be required. The cost for new construction should be the lesser of the cost to reproduce the displacement dwelling, or to use modern construction standards and materials currently used in the area. Calculations based on new construction must include the cost of an available replacement building site.

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Alternative E

A mobile home may be used as a comparable when the displacement dwelling is a mobile home, or when the displacement dwelling is not DSS. Mobile homes must not be used as a comparable for a conventional DSS dwelling without prior approval by ROW Division HQ.

The cost of new construction, additions, and rehabilitation discussed in preceding Alternatives must be fully explained on form ROW-R-107 and supported by a written estimate from a contractor willing to perform the work. Cost of adding special energy conservation features, or for including such features in new or rehabilitated housing, must not be considered an eligible expense unless required by law or necessary to make a dwelling comparable. The cost of built-in appliances, air conditioners, and extra interior attributes are not be considered eligible if these features are not in the displacement dwelling nor required by prevailing building codes.

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