How to Deal with Unpermitted Work in a Home

Unpermitted work in a home entails any changes made on the structural, electrical, or plumbing components of a home that require permits by law. The permitting laws for additions to a house vary in different areas hence you should confirm with the local authority about the particulars of your location. When selling or buying a home, it is common for both sellers and buyers to encounter unpermitted work in the house, which could be the addition of a new room, the transformation of a garage into an office, or the completion of a basement into a functional entertainment room.

In most cases, homeowners conduct unpermitted work on their property in order to avoid the costs of getting a permit and the associated annual taxes. This tactic saves you money at the time but it bears problems when it comes to selling the home. You may consider the following options when you face unpermitted work in the home you are trying to sell or buy.

Buyer’s options

As a buyer presented with unpermitted work in the home you want to purchase, you may consider taking the home as it is in due to the low price tag. A home seller may provide a discount that covers the cost of getting a permit for the unpermitted work, paying for the tax increase on the home addition, and paying fees for the re-assessment of the home. The discount may be an attractive deal that the buyer is willing to consider.

You may ask the seller to get the permit before closing on the deal to avoid future problems with local authority. In this case, the seller will pay for home assessment, the permit, and new taxes on the home. If the buyer and the seller cannot find an amicable solution to the matter, the buyer may opt to scout for a new home to purchase.

We have a variety of Edmonds townhomes available to buyers who wish to embark on a safe purchase.

Seller’s options

A seller may encounter unpermitted work in their home that was done by them or by the previous homeowner. The seller has the option of selling the home as it is without getting the necessary permits. For this option, you need to reveal the truth to potential buyers to avoid a lawsuit in future. You may offer a discount on the asking price as an incentive to buyers who will not mind buying the home in the current state and taking up the permit issue.

Alternatively, you may fix the issue by getting the necessary permits from the local authorities. The process entails application for the permit, assessment of the work by a professional architect who will submit improvement proposals, and execution of the changes. After completion, the home will undergo assessment to ascertain that the changes made are functional and safe.

Both sellers and buyers should liaise with their real estate agents in order to get advice on the best option to undertake in the face of unpermitted work in order to make an informed decision.

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James Stone

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