Sellers: Permits Matter

Real Estate Agent with Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group S44645

Over the weekend, I was viewing homes with a couple that is relocating to our area from out of state.  During my research of the properties on their showing list, one of them stuck out.  In the remarks, it stated that the lower level bathroom would be completed prior to closing.  Since the house has been on the market since late fall 2018, we expected that it would have been completed.  It isn't completed, not even close.  And besides that, there is no permit filed for the adding of that bathroom.  Is the seller a licensed plumber?  Nope.  And what about the electrical?  Is the seller a licensed electrician?  Nope.  The buyers felt really uncomfortable with taking on someone else's potential issues.  


Finished basement


Where they are from, if work is completed without the city's knowledge and no approval of the completed work, the city can require the owner to rip it all back out to be inspected.  Upon further evaluation, the entire basement was completed without a permit as the city assessor has the home listed with an unfinished basement.  Which explains the much lower assessed value compared to the listing price.  Again, now this is going to be an inherited issue to the new buyers because the taxes will go up after the sale when the assessor sees the price that the home sells for and they use the finished square footage from the listing.


Words of advice:  If you are adding finished space or adding a bedroom or bathroom to the lower level, please go to the city and obtain the proper permits. If it was done prior to your ownership and the information is not correct on the assessor site, call the assessor and invite them to come out and take a look.  The assessed value is important to buyers so that they are not surprised by a tax hike after they purchase the home.  Also, since the assessed value is public record, it is easier to justify your asking price as well!

Posted by


Karen Feltman, REALTOR®, ABR, AHS, CHMS,                                                                      CNE,CRS, e-Pro, green, GRI, SRES, TRC

Keller Williams Legacy Group

4850 Armar Drive SE Ste B

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403


Mobile  319-521-0701

Licensed in the State of Iowa

© 2010-2021 by Karen Feltman, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Relocation Specialist 

Comments (2)

Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Good day 

Thank you for sharing your information with us Karen Feltman 

Have a great day.

January 22, 2019. 

Jan 22, 2019 04:57 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Karen... I have seen many a seller get into problems when they didn't pull appropriate permits. Often they do it to save some money... to get an after-the-fact permit often costs them more than if they'd done it up front.

Jan 23, 2019 04:15 AM