Selling Your Home With Code Violations

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Bk3232858

Selling your house with code violations.

The following information  is not specific to all cities and counties, please contact your own city and county to verify any permit issues.



  Selling your house with code violations could be very costly to you the seller.

You should inform all prospective buyers in writing of any work that was done to your property without the proper permits. If you don't, the buyer could sue you if something later goes wrong or if the city  eventually discovers that the work was done without the proper paperwork and demand that the work that was done without the proper permits be torn down.


  May buyers get nervous when a seller notifies them that   work was performed on the property without the required permits and then either request  a lower  selling price or cancel the deal  altogether.  If you don't want to take this risk by making the required disclosure, consider calling the local building dept and see if you can obtain an "as built" permit for the work that was performed without  the permit.


 As "as built" permit is basically a permit that is issued after a project is completed and city inspectors determine that it meets the current building code.


 When issuing the as-built permit the city may levy a fine on you for doing the work without filing for the permit. But the fine would likely be less that the steep discount the buyer may demand to purchase your home in its present illegal condition, and you should also keep in mind of the legal consequences if the buyer sues you after the sale is completed and they find out about the illegal repairs.


Good Luck

James Loftis P.A. CRS,GRI,EPRO

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James Loftis

Real Estate 911 Inc  Broker/Owner

Hollywood,FL 33024


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Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
With our current FAR contracts, it's not enough just to notify the buyers in writing - it would actually need to be written in to the contract, otherwise the "boiler plate" language would require the seller to get the as-built permits for any unpermitted or unclosed out permits.
Jan 25, 2008 12:43 AM #1
Terry Rush Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Corolla, NC

Our market is secondary--mostly second homes and vacation/rental investment properties--with almost all out-of-state sellers. 

And our state is buyer-beware, so sellers have the option of answering Yes, No or No Representation to any or all of the 21 questions on the NC Residential Property Disclosure Statement. 

Half of them don't ever know or check up on work their rental company's maintenance department contracts out. 

And many of them only come to their houses one or two weeks out of the year so thusly never even know what the heck the place looks like much less what has been done to it! 

Jan 25, 2008 12:57 AM #2
Rick Bunzel
Pacific Crest Inspections - Anacortes, WA


Your comments could open a pandora's box of issues. To begin with  building codes differ in city to city. Even within the city there is an interpetation of the codes which changes based on the inspector and the mood they are in that day. Secondly cities differ on when a permit should be pulled for a project. In our area the city says that if you are replacing a water heater, you need a permit. When I was replacing some of the wood planks on my deck I was told I needed a permit but the same official later said that if I as the homeowner was doing it and the project was less than $500, I did not need a permit. Most homeowners have no clue when to get a permit and when not to get permits. Others assume there licensed contractor will take care of the permits. See where I am going here? 

In Colorado most homes come with unfinished basements and frequently the homeowner or cheapo contractors will finish the basement add one or more bedrooms and rec room areas. About 50% of the time the work was unprofessional and the bedrooms where non-conforming. Many of the newer Realtors didn't want to make waves until I started to talk about the implications of no permits. I live in Washington now  and still do lots of educating on permits.

My point being there is a time and place that each agents needs to make there client aware of the need for permits but because the permitting process is not black and white, some restraint should be used. Most disclosures already have a question about work without permits which should suffice.




Rick Bunzel 
Pacific Crest Inspections

Affiliate of the Year 2006-2007
Fax 360-588-6965

Toll Free 866-618-7764





Jan 25, 2008 05:31 AM #3
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