This Mistake When Fixing Up Your House Could Be Costly

Real Estate Agent with Classic Realty Realtor

A while back, I was contacted by some friends of mine, a family in another state. The story goes like this: My friends had employed a contractor to remodel their basement. The contractor worked for several weeks always making a minimum amount of noise, picking up after him, and seemingly using the best in materials. When he was finished, the job looked perfect. The air conditioning functioned well; the drywall and paint that had been applied looked wonderful; there were plenty of electrical sockets to plug in to. Carpeting, tile, bedroom and bathroom seemed flawless. In fact, the couple lived there another year, found another home, purchased it and moved in to the new house. Then they put there former (1st) house up for sale. It all happened precisely in the order just stated.

With the market the way it's been, they waited for an offer - one month, two, three, four months had passed and finally during the fifth month of their listing they had an offer for only $5,000 less then they were asking, with NO additional money to be given the buyer out of their pocket. Knowing they were in a buyers market and fortunate to even have an offer, the sellers were thrilled.

On day ten of the Home Inspection contingency, the buyer's inspector came out to the house. Everything passed with flying colors except, you got it, the basement. It wasn't about the quality of work, it was that the contractor hadn't been licensed (although the couple thought he was) and as a result hadn't acquired ONE permit!!! He hadn't gotten a plumbing permit, electrical, air conditioning or any other kind of permit. The buyer had wanted to close in 21 days but it took 40 days and a lot of money from the my friends, the sellers, to undo what the contractor had done and acquire the proper permits. The young couple nearly lost the deal. In reality, they were fortunate that it closed at all.

What do we learn from the above story as home owners? When employing a contractor ask three questions:

  1. Are you licensed?
  2. May, I see your license?
  3. What about permits?

By the way, a sharp realtor®, when he/she takes your listing will always ask about improvements, permits, liens, etc.... in reference to your house. Sometimes they will even suggest some preliminary title work. These issues if they are going to surface should be dealt with before you receive an offer, not after. Failure to comply with the above three questions might just later cost you, the sellers, a great deal.

David L. Burrows, Realtor®
Envirian of Warrenton
Warrenton, Virginia  20186
Phone: 703.391.9200   x9119
Burrows Properties

Your Selling Thought for the Day
: When selling your house: 1) Price your home competitively.  2) Make sure you have a pre-listing Home Inspection with necessary repairs completed before listing your house. 3) Offer a Home Warranty. When these three steps are completed, you will have made a huge contribution to the selling of your property for the best price and perhaps in the shortest amount of time.

Interested in Some Great Reading on selling your home? Take a look at these articles on my website: Selling Your Home: Where do you begin?

Seller Guidance:
I would encourage you to employ a Realtor® to help you sell your home. When your agent or another agent is showing your house, go away and let them do your work for you. I also urge you to utilize my FREE SELLERS TOOLKIT before selling your house.

Buyer Guidance: I would encourage you to really check out anything and everything you are told by a well meaning seller. Employ the services of a Buyer's Agent to help you discern what you read and listen to about the area you are thinking of calling home. I would also urge you to get my FREE BUYERS TOOLKIT before heading out on the journey to find your new house.

Try this powerful link to help you find your next home: Fairfax Homes For Sale  
The search engine on my site will allow you to find a house by Mapping, County, Subdivision, Zip Code, Address or City. I encourage you to try the Fairfax MLS and in fact, search the entire Northern VA Real Estate area. 

Northern Virginia Information - Here you will find answers to your questions about schools, auto registration, taxes, things to do this weekend, popular destinations. It only takes a moment to look and it is free with no registration required!

Click on the following link for your Complimentary eCalendar & Daily Planner. This is a Free Gift from David. There is absolutely NO sign-up, registration, tricks, or gimmicks. It really is free for you to enjoy! This is a great tool for keeping track of your schedule for all of your Real Estate needs. There is NO obligation.

Visit Northern Virginia MLS Home Search, my other Website. There you will find Northern VA Homes For Sale and Northern VA Real Estate.

This blog may contain links to other Web sites operated by third parties. These links are provided as a convenience to access the information contained therein. David Burrows and Envirian of Warrenton have not reviewed all of the information on other sites and disclaim any responsibility for the content of any other sites or the products or services that may be offered on or through those sites. Inclusion of a link to another site does not indicate any endorsement or approval of the site or its content.

David Burrows and Envirian of Warrenton disclaim liability for any damages or losses, direct or indirect, that may result from use of or reliance on information contained in this blog.


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Ray Nelson
Exit Realty Expertise - Fredericksburg, VA

I've seen that too many times to mention, David.  It is unfortunate when people don't insist on permits being pulled. I've heard tell of one locality here in NOVA that has forced the homeowner to tear out items for which they did not have permits.  That could get pricey!  Thanks for sharing with us.  We all need cautionary tales like this for our more spendthrift home sellers.

Jul 03, 2008 06:15 AM #1
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Thanks for sharing -- some good tips.



Jul 03, 2008 06:42 AM #2

Thanks for the great post. Good advice! I always thinking fixing up your home is a love hate thing. It can be extremely rewarding, but it can be a second job too. This was a great post though.

I stumbled upon this blog like I did yours. Thought it's humor on home fixing might be enjoyable:

Thanks for the post! I'd love to see more like it.

Sep 16, 2010 03:20 PM #3
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