CAUTION – Is the home you are purchasing fully permitted?
How a Permit Can Help You
Permits prove that the worker is insured and professional, which can help new home buyers avoid some serious headaches. And, appraisers will likely require permits for any improvements. This is especially true for VA and FHA buyers which consists of a good portion of our buyers these days.
The permit process is there to protect bueyrs against safety issues, electrical, plumbing, structural, etc. It exists to ensure the project will be completed according to local building standards. To a NEW HOMEOWNER, it all boils down to having it done right the first time.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Permit?
Permits will help you in the long run. Failing to obtain the proper renovation permits may complicate or prohibit the sale of your property. Buyers or appraisers determining value for a buyer’s lender will often ask for proof that the work on the property has ben permitted. Work performed by permitted standards increase the likelihood that the work was done professionally and safely. Some areas and municipalities will require a permit for work previously done onto the subsequent buyer. This means that if there are issues with the property and the work was done without a permit, it is now the current owner’s problem. It will result in extra costs, such as paying a fine or doing the work again.
Along with other important legal work, getting a permit will also protect the new buyer. Government inspectors will come to the property to inspect the work and approve the completed work. This process protects the property owner because a qualified third party has evaluated the work.
I have witnessed first-hand the consequences of not doing due diligence when purchasing a new home that has obviously been renovated. An owner in Arcadia purchased a home in the Million Dollar range in 2015 without checking for permits. Not only was the property not permitted for the additional square footage that was added, but the workmanship was so poor the entire property had to be renovated, a Licensed General Contractor, architect and variance required from the City to simply sell the home. The cost was staggering and took seven months to complete in order to put it on the market for resale.
Check for a Permit
If you suspect major structural work was done on the home, go to the local building and permits department and make sure permits were pulled and closed out properly, with inspections done at completion.
If bathrooms or kitchens were rearranged or moved, you will be able to tell from the paperwork what plumbers or electricians were used for the job, and then you can check whether they are licensed professionals. If interior walls were removed, permits are required.
Also, consider the age of the home. For instance, if it was built before the mid-1980’s, the home probably wasn’t constructed with an open-floor concept. If the house now has a more contemporary open floor plan where the kitchen, dining room, and living room flow into each other, walls were likely removed
Of course, it might not be obvious that major work was done. The team at Phoenix Urban Spaces has a construction background and can help buyers in researching the history of a home and mitigating any risk associated with selling or purchasing it.
Contact Phoenix Urban Spaces for an evaluation of a home or to strategize on how to purchase and/or renovate a home and be in compliance with permitting requirements.