Open Permits on a Home “What’s Your Script/Dialogue”

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Kolsky Realty & Management 01311273


Open Permits on a Home “What’s Your Script/Dialogue”


I have to agree with Bob Stewart “crowdsourcing (i.e., posting) scripts and dialogues aren’t just for actors. When RE professionals share their successful stories (personal dialogues) with others. Improvement, growth comes through enigmas & paradoxes. “As Bob nicely phrased it -there’s no substitute for experience” 


Years back, I had a situation where I had found out the home we just got into a contract with had open permits on the home. This experience is worth reviewing. “Buyers finding out after the sellers accepted their offer -the property had open permits.” 


Right away I knew I had to inform my buyers about the news. I had worked with these clients for two weeks before entering this contract. I knew right away (no matter how I initially delivered the news) they were going to say to me “it sound a bit shady, Jon.” Even I think it sounds awful,too.


The reality can be much different sometimes. Sometimes an open permit is a tremendous deal, just as sometimes open permits are not. Depending whether or not the permits are required work? Is it a building addition? Was the work started? When it comes to an open permit on a house you need to know every detail about the open permits before you know what you’re dealing with, sometimes that means asking the sellers questions.


The agreeable news that most folks don’t realize “many permits expire in a year” but, nevertheless (the moral of it all) -All the details from the building department concerning open permits need to be known. Another important note: Some lender will not write the mortgage on a property that has open permits.


No matter what I knew it was my job to get all the facts about the open permits and then present them factually to the buyer. The last thing I wanted my buyers to believe is that they got defrauded, and especially did not want them to feel as they would lose any of their down deposit.


The Remedy:


Instead of making a phone call about my discoveries -I decided to invite the buyers over to my office. I knew the chances of this blowing-up would be a lot less if I had a clear presentation of all the facts and meet with them in person. (I believe there’s “comfort” in trusting eyes)


The buyers seemed anxious to meet with me; I could tell they were extremely excited about their offer being accepted. When they walk into my office, I “first” made sure they were comfortable and offered them anything to drink or eat.


Once the meeting started I became real serious, right from the start, I told them I found out something about the home, I explained this is no joking matter and that we need to deal with this problem right away. The mood I set was serious, and I did it for a specific reason, “I wanted them to know I do not take buying a home lightly, especially their future home”


The buyers actually saw how serious I was taking this issue which translated into them believing -I’m their guardian, hence, my goal. The buyers truly appreciated all the work I did about finding out about this issue, and they trusted that they would be protected by me.


The Result:



I ended-up having both open permits officially closed within a few days -and had the documents added to the file. Thankfully, both open permits were for backyard projects “which work was never started” The process of having the open permits were extremely easy to accomplish, but doing the extra work, presenting the issue to the buyers in the right manner, and resolving the problem lead to another happy home-buyer, as well as a content RE agent.  






Trust is a source of pride and a true honor, trust is power...   







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Bob Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

Jon interesting story and I appreciate your professional approach not to freak out your clients but to educate them on the situation and having all the answers/solutions before you met with them showing you do care and also know how to solve problems.

I'm glad to hear it all worked out to close the open permits. 

Aug 21, 2013 10:25 AM #1
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Jon, I am a bit of a storyteller. That's why I don't use scripts. It gives me the ability to be flexible and tell one of my stories if need be. I'm more concerned about making a connection than making a sale. Because I believe if I do the first, the second will naturally follow.

Aug 21, 2013 10:43 AM #2
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I have never heard of "open permits" and I don't believe we have such a thing here.  You handled it well - being calm and steady certainly helped your clients keep cool as well.

Aug 21, 2013 11:32 AM #3
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Bob~ I hear you clearly "solve, educate, & fix problems" all in a professional manner.....BTW: AWESOME post...Thanks for the comment...

Tammie~ story tell away, I think that's what Bob is hoping for. I even noticed he encourages multiple entries, although points are only awarded once...Thanks!

Margaret~ many times a homeowner open-up a permit to do work on the property, but fails do ever act on it...but thanks for the awesome praise, it inserted a huge smile on my face..Thanks!

Aug 21, 2013 12:00 PM #4
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Jon Kolsky

Licensed California Real Estate Broker
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