Buying a Home? Make Sure All Work Was Done with a Permit

A newly renovated home sounds like a buyer’s dream—but if the seller didn’t get the necessary permits for the work, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. Depending on where you are in the buying process, you might be responsible for removing the work that was completed, paying any applicable fines and having to redo the work (with a permit) all over again. Avoid the hassle by ensuring that your closing costs include any necessary building permits in Alpine, TX.

How to tell if work was done without a permit

Depending on your location, you can usually find out what kind of work was done on a home by pulling the building permits from your local municipality. If the home has clearly been renovated, yet there is no record of a building permit for that work, you know you’re treading into murky waters.

Sellers are required to list any and all work done to the property, even unpermitted work, in their property disclosure. The property disclosure is required by law, and it’s meant to give buyers a clear picture of what assets and flaws a property has. This helps buyers make an informed decision, and allows them to decide if they want to continue with the purchase. Typically, this comes after the buyer has made an offer and the seller has accepted it, but some sellers will provide the information before the buyer makes an offer. Either way, make sure you do your due diligence by reviewing the property disclosure carefully and double-checking with your local building department.

What to do if you’re buying a home renovated without permits

Generally, as soon as the buyer signs the purchase agreement, they’re the ones on the hook for the renovations, so don’t sign anything until you know whether the work was done with all the necessary permits.

If your seller neglected to get the permits for their renovations, it doesn’t mean that you have to or should back out of the sale entirely, although in some cases that might be the wisest decision. Instead, have your attorney write a clause into the contract that the seller is responsible for pulling permits and ensuring that all building is up to code. If the seller refuses, revoke the offer.

Did you discover the permit problem after signing the contract? You might be able to get out of it through the home inspection. Professional home inspections can find work that wasn’t done up to code (or that was performed without permits), and depending on how your contract is worded, you may be able to halt the transaction if you’re unsatisfied with the results of the inspection.

Ultimately, it’s best to do your due diligence before proceeding with the sale, and ensure that any permits needed are included in the closing costs in Alpine, TX. Working with an experienced realtor like Carpenter Real Estate can help you spot problems before you sign, and ensure the buying process continues smoothly. Reach out to us today to learn more.