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Old 10-17-2007, 01:21 AM   #1
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Home Inspection Coming Up!!!


House that I'm interested in has a finished basement, but I don't know yet if it was finished with a permit. If it wasn't, does anyone have any suggestions on recourse?

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Old 10-17-2007, 12:26 PM   #2
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Is the sq footage of the basement included in the total heated and cooled in the tax appraisal? If so, it most likely was done with permit. Check with your local zoning and building dep't to be sure. They'll also be able to tell you what you'd need to do if it wasn't permitted. You might be opening a big can of worms, but if the seller has priced the house to include that as living space and it wasn't permitted, it could be worthwhile.
This info SHOULD be in seller's disclosures, as well. If you're working with a Realtor, put that person to work! Research is part of the job.

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Old 10-17-2007, 12:35 PM   #3
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wow.... home owner... we have to be alert.... a potential buyer like that can really make me very nervous not applying a permit.... being able to sell or not sell the house is one story... but invoking the goveronment to come over and open up the a new case is really a big headache... if not a disaster... what if they ask me to open up all the walls for inspection....
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:34 PM   #4
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KUIR****G -

It is not opening up a new case, it is looking at one that tried to be illegally hidden.

That is why everyone is advised to get a permit. Cheaters will not get permits and some other just don't want to, but that is their problem. With a permit, you get free advice and inspections to show how good you are.

If you are going to invest the sweat and money in a project, you can be able to use it as an asset when you go to sell. If you don't get a permit, you are taking a big chance by not getting a permit.

I heard of one unsucessful proposal where there was a suggesttion that if there was a fire in a house, the fire department did not have to fight the fire because of possible safety problems and the owner did not pay enough taxes for fire protection. - You get what you pay for.

The most common effect when selling is not being able to advertise or claim any space (or area) that is not habitable or does not qualify as a bedroom. This can effect the amount of money offered or the ability to get financing, which makes sense.

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Old 10-17-2007, 04:28 PM   #5
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I don't think you cannot Advertise the area w/o permit.... in fact... you got to write that information down in the listing finished or not finished basement.... for example... the fact is I think most buyers don't care about the permit in a hot market... when they like the house so much... and if you don't buy it someone else will jump into it... It is the situation when the market is not hot, and sale is slow... some people may try to get a better bargain and use the permit thing to try to make you knock down the price more to scare you if not they will call the city..e.tc...gee... that is scarely.... but may be a real estate agent can tell us their true experience here.... as a home buyer/seller... I did not experience anything with permit/without permit will causing a deal to fail before... consider I have buy/sell over 6 properties in the past...
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Old 10-18-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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Kui****g, often something like that will be offered as a "bonus room" by a seller. It really becomes a problem when more than just cosmetic work is done. For instance, if new electrical is added and causes a fire, good luck with the fire inspector and your insurance company if it wasn't inspected and approved. Problems of this sort can usually be avoided with a pre-sale home inspection, though.

It also sometimes poses a problem with comparable pricing. It can be hard to get the same price per sq ft for an area that isn't included as heated and cooled in the tax appraisal. As you point out, market conditions can drive that either way.
Using an appraised 3000 sq ft home as a comparable for an appraised 2400 sq ft home with a 600 sq ft unpermitted "bonus room" also raises legal and ethical questions, and no honest Realtor will offer that as a bonafide comparable.

BTW, I'm winding down my repair and remodel business...gettin' too old for this crap...lol....and will be joining my wife in her independent real estate brokerage next year I don't normally post business links in forums, but it's http://www.mgcre.com/ in case you might want to have a look.

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