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Old 02-03-2009, 08:11 AM   #1
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


We had a 3 season porch with very old louvered crank windows. We took out those windows, put in new sliding windows, took down the old wainscoting and put up sheetrock, and added hardwood floors and new lighting. We also enlarged the doorway opening from the new front porch/room from standard width to about 5 feet.

Yes, it was dumb, bad judgment, etc. etc. but I didn't get a permit and it turns out I needed one.

I am now thinking about refinancing the house to take out equity and remodel the kitchen. In order to refinance, I'll need an appraisal. Do you think the fact I didn't get a permit for the front porch come up during the appraisal?

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Old 02-03-2009, 08:35 AM   #2
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It is possible that it could. Some appraisers/lenders/real estate agents take interest (if they're really heads-up), some do not. Only one way to find out!

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Old 02-03-2009, 09:04 AM   #3
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It is possible that it could. Some appraisers/lenders/real estate agents take interest (if they're really heads-up), some do not. Only one way to find out!
Thanks! And great signature -that can be applied to a lot of things in life.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:20 AM   #4
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


If the three season porch was a legal addition or roiginal to the house, it is unlikely your changes will draw attention. If the initial porch was not legal, may be an issue.

Termites signature--many of us use what is called code+ construction. We go a step or two above what is allowed by code. Yes, it costs more, but you get more value and safety, and we usually get fewer callbacks.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:36 AM   #5
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If the three season porch was a legal addition or roiginal to the house, it is unlikely your changes will draw attention. If the initial porch was not legal, may be an issue.

Termites signature--many of us use what is called code+ construction. We go a step or two above what is allowed by code. Yes, it costs more, but you get more value and safety, and we usually get fewer callbacks.
As far as legal I don't know but the porch I guess was added in the 1930's. When we tore off the wainscoting the insulation was newspaper. The framing is these giant things that look like railroad ties and the nails look like spikes.

The house was built in 1928, but the foundation around the porch is a little different than the rest of house, and there is no basement under the porch, just dirt. So I'm guessing the porch was added on fairly soon after the house was built.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:54 AM   #6
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


With the age of the house I would be surprised if they even kept records. The city of NY didn't have C of O's until 1938.
It's easy to check. Just go down to the local Building Dept and look at the houses' records.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:01 AM   #7
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We go a step or two above what is allowed by code.
yup, i'm striving to do all my work here as far beyond code as my finances allow! the elec. inspector even complimented me on my labling all the wires, stapling every 12 or so inches instead of 4 ft., and running my wires in the attic on strips to keep it above the blown insulation. making all my outlet boxes 22 cubic inch, using 12/2 insted of 14/2, etc.
these things also make it easier for you and others down the line too.

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Old 02-04-2009, 10:51 AM   #8
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


I had my house appraised a few weeks ago for a refinance. Nowhere in the conversation was anything asked about permits. He just wanted to know how old was the ac/ furnance/fridge/roof,etc.
He then took pics and left.
His job is to tell the mortgage company how much the house is worth in its current condition.
If I was selling the house, then the disclosure statement would find out the issues with the permits and such.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:57 AM   #9
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If I was selling the house, then the disclosure statement would find out the issues with the permits and such.
Nowhere I've ever lived. I've bought and sold houses in 10 or 12 states over the years and have NEVER seen a disclosure statement that asked about unpermitted work.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:58 PM   #10
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


if they ask for permits or even mention the word - refinance with some other institution. lots of options out there!

believe me, all homes have had work done without a permit in their homes. even with a permit it is no guarantee that the work was done to code (its unbelievable what inspectors will pass when they're not paying attention or don't care?). think all those shoppers in HD electrical/plumbing isles have permits? the city would be debt free if they did!

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Old 02-23-2009, 08:40 PM   #11
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


In Washington (the state) sellers have to fill out a Form 17 Disclosure Statement. A few pages in, it asks if you've done any remodeling, renovations, or repairs. The very next question is "Were all necessary permits obtained?"
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:40 AM   #12
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


Constructive1, that statement should be universal.
but it isn't for some reason, don't know why. in my neck of the woods it's still "buyer beware".

i wonder how, in your state, you get around issues like work that was done without a permit that you can spot, but its not work that you did, but some previous owner?

or, person signs decloration because they "thought the contractor got the permits as he said that he did" and who was the contractor? "don't know, it was some guy out of the classified adds". now what do you do?

guess that's why they have juries!

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:54 AM   #13
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Refinance Appraisal and Permit for Remodel


During the "boom years" sellers would just admit that they had work done without a permit, and if the potential buyer didn't like it, they'd just sell to the next person in line. That's a bit more difficult now, and they either have to lie, or do some fast talking.

Responsibility for obtaining permits rests with the homeowner for exactly the reasons you state. The contractor can move on, go out of business, etc. but the house and homeowner are still there.

I have a clause in my standard contract that covers hidden defects and code issues. We've had a few cases where we had to bring previous work up to code and also have the homeowner obtain permits for previously unpermitted work.

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