Before you buy or sell a home with unpermitted work. You need to know what unpermitted construction on a home is. Unpermitted construction is work done on a property that wasn’t approved by the city.
The additions or improvements may be beautiful and add a lot to the property. However, if the city isn’t aware of the work done it might not be up to code. That could create a safety issue for the family living there.
There are a lot of homes on the market with unpermitted work. However, it matters what you do after the work is done. The best approach you can take is letting the city know what work was done so they can have someone inspect and approve it.
When do you need a permit to work on your house?
When you are making any major changes to the footprint of your home you’re going to need a permit from the city.
Changes may include, decks, certain fences, electrical work, adding rooms, etc. If you fail to get a permit for these projects even if you have a licensed contractor, it can delay your project and make selling your home very hard.
It may also reduce the market value of your home. An experienced contractor will pull all permits before construction begins.
So, the best thing to do before you start a major project with or without a contractor is to get your permits from the city.
How to get unpermitted work permitted
The first thing you want to do is be aware of the permitting laws in your local area as they vary depending on y where you live.
Most people get unpermitted work done is because they are trying to save money and someone comes in and cuts corners. But the risks eventually cause further problems and more expenses.
There are also some homeowners that don’t get the permits for a construction job because they want to keep the value of the home low. Lower value typically leads to lower taxes. The worrying thing is that you are saving in the short term for something costly in the future.
Homeowners that do this need to keep in mind that, when selling the property you fill out a form called a seller disclosure.
Seller disclosure is a legal form that requires sellers to provide previously undisclosed information about a property’s condition to a prospective buyer. You may still be held responsible for the unpermitted work if the city decides to inspect your home.
If the work was poorly done and it obviously isn’t up to code, it may be taken down at your expense.
Steps you can take to get unpermitted work permitted:
1. Find building permits issued by the county
After you have discovered some parts of your new property have problems and you don’t know if the proper permits were pulled. You need to start digging for details. Try to get a copy of the original blueprints to compare them to the property currently.
To get access to it chances are there is a copy of it at your local city or county. In some municipalities, it may be called the county recorder or land registrar. You could also get one from the original builder if you have a newer home.
To find the permit search for it in the permits records in your county. If you can’t find any record of permits being pulled, chances are the work done was unpermitted. Local counties or municipalities store records for years.
2. Request a retroactive permit
In some instances, you can apply for a retroactive permit. You can obtain this permit on work that was already completed.
There are some benefits and drawbacks to doing this method. If you are worried about the expense of having to do a major project twice. It might be a better option to sell the home as-is for less.
If the unpermitted work covers a garage addition and a bedroom, that could get pretty expensive. However, before going to the city to get the permit, consult with a contractor to get the scope and cost of the work that needs to be done. Most contractors don’t charge for a consultation.
3. Sell the home As-Is
Because it may require a tremendous outlay of cash, another option to consider selling as-is to an investor.
When you go about pricing your home, consider valuing the home as if the addition doesn’t exist. For instance, if you find an unpermitted additional office space was added to the house, deduct the value from comparable homes with a private office space.
Unfortunately, a great deal of time with the home on the market may have already passed if an inspector discovered the unpermitted work during the inspection phase of a sale.
When a buyer seeks financing, and an examination reveals the issue, the lender will deny the loan.
Contacting a trusted professional to help you assess how much to discount for the buyer’s problems might help you set an asking price that won’t turn the select pool of buyers you want away.
Because direct buyers have the power of cash, the closing is guaranteed when you work with professional investors
What are building permit records?
Building permit records include construction information about a subject property or address. The permit records detail a list of the type of work that was done on the building. It may include the contractor’s name, owner’s name, date issued, and completed date.
A record of building permits issued by the building department in your local area is saved for years of reference. Each municipality has a building code that they follow in regards to the type of construction work that needs a permit.
Unpermitted work should be inspected and brought up to code. These codes exist for the safety of the home’s occupants and surrounding properties.
How to get a building permit
If you are ready to whip the hammer out and get some work done here is how you go about getting a permit.
- Go to your local county office and fill out the application. Expect to bring more information if you are undertaking a complex project such as adding a room.
- Get your site plan ready for your new project.
- Review the site plan with your local county and get it approved.
- After you have the permit in hand, post it where it’s visible and start swinging your hammer.
- Make sure to schedule inspections at milestones during the project to make sure your work is up to code.
- Finish your project and get the cites final approval for a job well done.