How to Sell a House With Unpermitted Work
This past Christmas, a homeowner in La Mirada, California, made national news when he faced fines for building a makeshift second story on his home. The addition, he argued, was part of a holiday lights display in the style of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
The festive homeowner’s goal had been to make his home look more like the house in the film, and the display was a huge hit with fans and holiday lovers. Nonetheless, his community was not as thrilled, and city officials slapped him with a hefty fine, demanding he take the prop down.
As amusing as this tale is, it’s a perfect example of how serious the fines can be when a home has work done without the proper permits. In this post from Bill Buys Houses, we’ll talk you through selling a house with unpermitted work. If you need help selling a home with unpermitted additions or work, give our Minnesota cash home buyers a call.
What Does Unpermitted Work Include?
What constitutes unpermitted work can vary according to your state, city, and local HOA regulations. But put simply, unpermitted work is any type of work that’s done to your home without a permit when local regulations require one.
While permits might seem like needless bureaucracy to some, they’re there to make sure that work is performed in accordance with safe community guidelines.
Anytime you’re thinking of picking up a hammer around your house and channeling Bob Vila, your safest bet is to check out local permit regulations first. Here are just a few examples of work that might be fined if completed without a permit depending on local codes:
● Electrical system updates
● Adding on a garage
● Digging an in-ground swimming pool
● Adding onto your home
● Installing a new roof
How Unpermitted Work Happens
There are plenty of reasons a homeowner might have work done without getting the right permits. Here are a few of the more common reasons a home may have unpermitted work:
● The home isn’t up to code to begin with.
One of the most common reasons is that their home isn’t up to building code standards and they want to go ahead with the work anyway. Often, they’ll convince themselves they can worry about getting the building up to code sometime down the road and then it never gets done.
Licensed contractors may refuse to work on a home if it’s not up to code as well since this could mean putting their license at risk. Unable to get a licensed contractor, the homeowner will find someone to cut corners for them or do it themselves.
● The contractor cut corners without the homeowner’s knowledge.
There’s a reason you should always invest in a licensed contractor when having repairs or additions done to your home. These days, you can hire unlicensed contractors all day long on Facebook or Craigslist. But there’s a good chance these amateur contractors are not familiar with local building codes and won’t bother to get the right permits for the job. Worse, they may be aware that there’s a permit required but choose not to get one for the work just to keep their rates lower. In the end, they win an easy payday for inferior work and the customer loses in more ways than one.
● The homeowner didn’t know a permit was required.
Home improvement shows are a dime a dozen these days, and they’re pretty inspiring. With the right YouTube video and a little inspiration, too many homeowners start to think they’re one of the Property Brothers.
● The homeowner didn’t expect anyone to find out.
Sometimes, homeowners may plan to keep living in their home indefinitely and decide that what the city doesn’t know can’t hurt them. But when that home eventually falls under new ownership, the next owner gets stuck with their mess.
Consequences of Unpermitted Work
Whatever their reason, anytime a homeowner has work done on his or her home without getting the proper permits first, it can lead to a whole host of problems like these:
● Costly Investment
It can cost thousands to get a home up to code. In some cases, the work that was done will need to be removed altogether.
● Unexpected Fines
Much like our holiday-loving friend above, homeowners can get hit with shockingly high fines. In that homeowner’s case, he was expected to pay hundreds for each week he refused to remove the addition.
● Buyers Beware
Work done without permits can make selling a home difficult when the time comes.
Selling an Unpermitted Work House
Are you stuck with an unpermitted work house? If so, you’re faced with a limited number of choices. You can spend tens of thousands to get the house up to code in some cases just so you can list it on the market or you can find an investor to buy the home in as-is condition.
At Bill Buys Houses, we buy Minnesota homes in all types of conditions including homes with unpermitted work. If you’re ready to connect with a cash home buyer and get cash for selling your home fast, give us a call today at 651-270-9191 or contact us online to learn more.