What Happens if you are Buying a House Without Permits for Remodeling?

by Bonnee Proo 07/28/2019

Buying a home without of permit for remodeling comes with a lot of risks. Searching for a home to buy can be an exciting undertaking, but there are numbers of factors to consider before purchasing a house. You should find out if the house has a permit for remodeling and if the home you are about to buy has had improvements, you need to know whether those improvements were permitted. 

Most times, homeowners end up with unpermitted renovations to save time and money. Your county building inspector has to ensure that all homes comply with the existing laws that pertain to home remodeling. They also have the authority to enforce the rules. What happens if you are buying a house without a remodeling permit? Here are some risks involved: 

You will not be aware of renovations 

One of the dangers of buying a property without a remodeling permit is that the buyer will not know about the past improvements that have been done. There are disparities in state laws when it comes to the amount of information a seller must disclose to the buyer. It is always better if a seller can still provide a buyer with all the necessary documentation. 

The Buyer will be responsible for fixing the problem 

If the code enforcement department in your locality discovers that you the buyer is working on remodeling without a permit, you are regarded as the current occupant of the home and will be responsible for the payments of penalties and licenses. This applies even if the occupant has just purchased the house and knew nothing about it. To fix the issue, you might be required to make minor changes or tear down some parts and rebuild. You might also be ordered to remove all the unpermitted remodeling. 

You may be asked to pay back taxes 

Owing some taxes is another risk associated with buying a house without renovation permit. If the taxing authority in your locality discover that remodeling took place without permission, the present occupant may be liable for paying back taxes due to the increased value of the home. Apart from paying back taxes, it could also attract penalties and interests which would cost you more than you initially planned for.

If the remodeling work is done without a permit, it may not be covered by your insurance. 

In most cases, unpermitted remodeling is not covered by insurance. Therefore, if anything happens to any unpermitted addition in the home, the claim will be denied by your insurance company which could set you back thousands of dollars in the future.

Make sure to speak with your real estate agent to confirm that you have all the necessary rights to remodel your new home to your taste without penalties.

About the Author
Author

Bonnee Proo

A Penn State undergrad with an MBA from University of Redlands, I specialize in the sale of new and existing homes in San Diego County. Licensed for 12 years in the Real Estate and Mortgage Banking industries, I have a strong background in Mortgage Banking and Investment property. Prior to real estate. I spent 18 years as a Corporate Accountant specializing in Healthcare and Biotechnology. I’ve always been a "numbers person.” However, my joy comes from working with and helping people make well-versed decisions with sometimes the largest investment they will ever make in their life…their home.


Leveraging my experience over the years, I am known for outstanding client service, available 7 days per week or whenever called upon to assist, execute, negotiate, guide or encourage. I strongly believe it is my duty to not only represent my clients to the best of my ability, but also to educate them throughout every step of the home buying (or selling) process, arming them with topnotch information and market insight so that they are able to make the best decisions possible. I am honest and trustworthy. I wholeheartedly believe that commitments are made to be kept. Also, I am extremely hardworking and knowledgeable about the real estate/mortgage industries and I have an EXCELLENT team of affiliates (lender, escrow, title, inspectors, etc.) with whom I work that are just as hardworking and knowledgeable in their respective lines of work, and always ready to assist.


During my spare time, you will either find me swing dancing or swinging a golf club. I also enjoy walking/hiking or spending time at the gym always working on trying to stay healthy; socializing with friends; and spending quality family time with husband, Phillip and my sassy, little fur-baby, Sadi.


 


AFFILIATIONS


National Association of Realtors (NAR)


California Association of Realtors (CAR)


Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR)


Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)


San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador)


East County Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador)


University of Redlands (Alumni Board)


Meals on Wheels (Volunteer)