BUILDING PERMITS - Permitting yourself is NOT the same!
Obtaining a loan for a property with an unpermitted addition or space has become quite problematic. There is little to none purchase funds allowed for loans on homes that have unpermitted additions. Makes no matter if the addition is of excellent quality or junk. No permit - no money. Sellers limit themselves to cash buyers and have huge disclosure issues. Buyer's who think they will try their hand at home improvement projects may only create a host of future problems.
Last year I represented a buyer on a small home in a modest neighborhood. She was buying as an investment for her retired mother and siblings. She wrote five offers before she finally acquired her home. One of the homes had an issue with unpermitted space. Lender would not touch it and we moved on. The home she settled on had the original bones, in good condition, and would serve her family well.
Her bother like to tease me about permits. He was actual a fun fellow, but he did have a thing about building permits. We would banter a bit about the permit process and how most people don't find it a pleasant experience. Understood. During escrow he would go on about converting the garage after close of escrow or adding on a room in the back, because.... he didn't need a permit ... He knew all kinds of people that could do the work and he would just permit himself. There was much more of that joking than normal, so I made sure my buyer understood that if she allowed those remodels to go forward, to make sure she checked with the building department. If she proceeded without a permit, she may not be able to sell in the future. I went so far as to put it in writing, just to be sure.
I do not know if they ever did any work. But, what if they did? Even if it the quality was professional and up to code; the building department would probably have something to say about it. They will want to inspect to verify the work is up to code and, of course, collect fees. Probably the strongest punishment could be requiring removal of the addition and restoring to original condition. Permitting yourself just doesn't pay.
I wondered about that client the other day as I drove through the neighborhood. Hypothetically, what if I noticed where the garage door had been was now a professionally finished wall, with large sunny windows and beautiful flower boxes. I wonder if they went through the permit process or "permitted themselves"? I don't believe I would ask that question.