Unpermitted Addtions and Improvements are a material fact in North Carolina

Real Estate Agent with Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® NC 247573

building permitAnd must be disclosed. I learned this in my update class last week. 9 firefighters were killed 2 years ago fighting a fire in a store that had "several structures were built without permits and compromised fire safety."  http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/may/16/report_store_violated_codescity_funded_a41083/

Square footage of unpermitted additions or improvements must be represented accurately, notifying a prospective buyer that they may have to incur the cost of permitting the addition or improvement or even removing it. Unpermitted areas also don't show up on the tax rolls and home owners insurance may cover damages if there's proof that the unpermitted area caused the damage.

Quoting from the Commission, " Representing the heated area in a manner that misleads  a prospective purchaser into believing that he or she is acquiring the lawful use of this space when that is not what is transpiring constitutes several violations of the License Law"

So the listing agent must disclose the square footage of the unpermitted area as such so the prospective buyer knows that they will be incurring the additional cost to bring the area to code. Even is the seller choses to answer "no representation" a broker must still disclose the material fact.

Posted by

Nogui Aramburo
Real Estate Broker | Manager
Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS
(919) 771 3609


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Carol Kope
Keller Williams Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY


This is the case I believe nation wide.  We as listing agents are responsible for what we report in a listing.  That is why I never take the information from the client but instead check out the property card and building department records.  Many homeowners, because they bought years ago, when things were loosley reported and controlled by tax assessors and building departments, bought homes that did not meet "code" within a town, city or municipality.  I have had many a homeowner state I bought it this way, I made no changes.  When I am lucky enough to get the listing sheet from the owner for their original purchase, they are right.  But, that doesn't change the fact that not having a building permit or Certificate of Occupancy opens up pandora's box for them now that they want to sell.  I always check the town, etc., and then obtain all the applications necessary to make everything legal.  It isn't always easy and it certainly costs the homeowner more penalties to file for the needed documents.  The municipalities figure that the owner has been getting away wtithout paying taxes on various additions, changes, etc. so they double and triple the permit fees.  But, if I don't start the process when I first take the listing, by the time the appraiser and bank catch the problem it could delay the closing.  This could cost everyone considerably more problems and money.  The seller may have to delay his move, pay higher for a contractor to work at a minutes notice (usually over a weekend), the buyer could loose their rate lock and this cost could be passed on to the seller.  It just could be a real can of worms.  I recommend being the barrer of bad news early on, start the process immediately  and avoid the stress and mess at the end.

Oct 19, 2008 03:35 PM #1
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Nogui Aramburo

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