How to Sell a Home with Unpermitted Repairs

How to Sell a Home With Unpermitted RepairsHave you discovered that the previous work performed on a home required a special permit? Such home improvement projects or repairs without necessary permits may make it difficult to sell a home outright without disclosing the issue. Learn more about the options homeowners have when they want to sell a home but find out that the home contains unpermitted repairs.

Look Over the Blueprints

It may be difficult to determine the extent of an unpermitted repair. To find out whether or not a repair or add-on has affected other aspects of the original construction of a home, it benefits homeowners to review the blueprint of a home to make a more accurate comparison of any changes they may not have noticed in addition to the unpermitted repair. Was that closet always there or only added on after some needed electrical work? A blueprint can help a homeowner determine the full scope of the changes to a home. A homeowner that does not have such blueprints on hand may find it necessary to search the city’s records or contact the previous owner.

What to Do About Unpermitted Repairs

A seller has a home with repairs or changes that required permitting. A homeowner can choose to obtain the permit after the fact. On the other hand, a homeowner can sell the home in as-is condition to a seller. What is generally likely to happen is that an owner will not get the full value of a home with unpermitted repairs left unaddressed. Either way, sellers are under a legal obligation to disclose any unpermitted construction by law. More details are available in “Required Disclosures When Selling U.S. Real Estate.”

For those that choose to sell as-is, there may be a smaller pool of buyers as some want to avoid the risk of purchasing such a home and others may have difficulty obtaining bank financing. Buyers who are interested may expect a significant price reduction on the value of a home. If a homeowner chooses to sell a home without obtaining the permits for previous repairs, communicate carefully with the city and try not to alert the city that there are one or more unpermitted repairs on the property. Their involvement may force a homeowner to get a permit on those repairs whether or not a homeowner may be able to afford it at the time.

Sellers who want to get their asking price often choose to get permits before putting a home for sale. Prior to getting a permit, check the requirements in a specific city through the city’s building department. Requirements vary but generally speaking a homeowner may need to:

  • Complete a permit application
  • Draw up a site plan, possibly with the assistance of an architect
  • Schedule a plan approval appointment
  • Get the permit
  • Schedule inspections throughout the construction process
  • Complete the repair or construction project in the process of obtaining city approval

Some cities have a plan for retroactive permitting. This may allow a homeowner to get a permit without ripping out the previous repair, add-on or construction and starting from the beginning in your Apple Valley home. It is often necessary to open parts of the construction to show that repairs were done to code.

Protection for the Innocent Owner

Those homeowners who bought a home unaware of unpermitted repairs will find that the city will work with them to fix the issue and often may not charge penalties. Innocent purchasers may be protected under some state laws. In addition, it may be possible for an owner to cover the cost of obtaining a permit through their title insurance company, the real estate agent or the previous owner.

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