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Old 11-04-2012, 09:30 PM   #1
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Permit concerns


Hi all,

Almost 6 years ago, when I was 22, I bought my first home. It was a major fixer-upper. My brother-in-law, who rehabs houses for a living, insisted that he could help me with a DIY rehab. We gutted the place; new electric, plumbing, flooring, sheetrock, kitchen, bathroom, windows, doors, central air, etc. My issue now is that I would like to move to a bigger home in a better neighborhood for my growing family, but I am scared to sell it because we never pulled any permits. I just recently found out that my bro-in-law rarely pulls permits for his jobs. I am really upset at myself now for being so ignorant of this important step in the past. No I fear the worst, that there will be some big fine or tearing out process if I attempt to list the house for sale.

In your opinions, what is the worst that could happen and how likely am I to face such a penalty?

Thanks for your anticipated feedback

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:43 PM   #2
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Permit concerns


Not likly, the building inspectors have better things to do then read the paper to see who's selling a home and go inspect it.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:44 PM   #3
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well. i would say that the worst that could happen, is that you loose a sale over it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:29 AM   #4
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Permit concerns


Thanks for the responses.

My concern is that I will more than likely have to have the house inspected and will also need to sign some sort of disclosure statement. The fact that permits were not pulled will come up at some point. What sort of fines will I be looking at?
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:34 AM   #5
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Permit concerns


The fact that permits we not pulled will not assumably come up at some point. Think of all the work that could have been done before you bought it; you can't sign a disclosure of their work. You have yourself needlessly worried. Unless the buyer's inspection report comes back a mess you should be fine. If the work is good work and up to code you have nothing to worry about. If the work is shoddy, either you wait for a buyer who doesn't care or get it updated correctly and will probably have to pull permits to do so.

Last edited by moneymgmt; 11-05-2012 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jj2010 View Post
Thanks for the responses.

My concern is that I will more than likely have to have the house inspected and will also need to sign some sort of disclosure statement. The fact that permits were not pulled will come up at some point. What sort of fines will I be looking at?

Around here they make you get an architect to come up with drawings for everything you did,plus the price of all the permits.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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Around here they make you get an architect to come up with drawings for everything you did,plus the price of all the permits.
Ok, so "that's how it was when I bought it"...... I'm not saying its honest but how can they argue that?
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
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Rarely if ever does the issue of permitted work come up in the sale of a home. The "inspector" the buyer hires will be pointing out potential issues for the buyer,permits isn't one of them.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:45 AM   #9
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Thanks again for settling my mind. I am pretty confident that the work was done to code and shouldn't have any issues, I was just reading stuff online and got a little spooked.

Thanks for your reassurance.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:01 AM   #10
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Ok, so "that's how it was when I bought it"...... I'm not saying its honest but how can they argue that?



They can,and do what they please,their position being your the one in the wrong not them,and it's not a good idea to argue with them,much better to say yes sir and no sir,and get on with whatever they say,that is if it comes to it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:54 PM   #11
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In the past 40 years, I have bought and sold a dozen houses all over the country, and done some amount of unpermitted work on all of them. The issue you are worrying about has never come up, not even once. The "home inspectors" typically hired by potential buyers are NOT code experts, and should tell you so. And any disclosure statements I've ever signed had no questions at all about permits.

One thing to consider is what I did when I had to sell my late father's house in California: get your own inspection(s), have the results available for potential buyers to see, and sell the house "as is."

Last edited by md2lgyk; 11-05-2012 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:29 PM   #12
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Also, if as many of us you've been working on your house for years w/o permits and you eventually get to a project where you can't or don't want to avoid it -- don't worry. At least in my areas the inspectors have zero interest in looking at past work. They're not being paid to do that and they just don't have the time. Obviously if there's some huge safety issue visible just on walk-through, they're going to balk. But nobody who reads a DIY forum and pulls a permit is going to allow anything like that, knowingly, in their house.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:25 PM   #13
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i would worry about why your brother in law doesn't pull permits.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:37 PM   #14
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Neither I nor anyone else on this forum can speak to what the building inspector in your locale is like. I can say that I have purchased two houses in my life. In both cases, there were issues with the houses, and they were discovered by my inspector, so they were not a surprise to me. In neither case did I ask, nor was I informed, about what permits, if any, had been pulled for previous work. Based on some of the problems I found, it was clear that no inspection by the building official had been done, as even a cursory inspection would have revealed issues with the wiring, plumbing etc.

I offered a reasonable price based on my expectation that a significant amount of work would be required in both cases, and I was not disappointed. You should expect the same, specifically that if the buyer's inspector determines that there are construction issues with your home, you should anticipate a lower offer on the property than if the home were in perfect condition. It is certainly possible that one or more potential buyers inquires about what permits you have pulled in the past X years, in which case you should be straight with them about the fact that no permits were pulled. After all, if you tell them permits were pulled, and they call the building office, they will quickly find out that you are lying, and you might reasonably expect them to find another house. If they are spooked by the lack of permits, not much you can do about it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:02 PM   #15
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It's not uncommon for some of the more thorough home inspectors here to make a note along the lines of "check with governing body to ensure building permits and inspections were made to X work". When something looks awry, it's their duty to report it to the potential homebuyer, at which point the buyer walks, or has additional bargaining power. I've walked through a ton of homes for friends/customers/relators, and I often am able to pick out un-permitted work. Purple primer is one of the easiest to catch...............

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