Permits, do i really need them?

Posted by Robert McIntyre on Friday, August 30th, 2019 at 2:30pm.

Are you considering finishing your basement or Developing a Garage on your property? The best advise we can give you as Real Estate Agents is to get all the permits required from the municipality you live in! If I had a megaphone I would blast this message from the roof tops, why?

When you sell your home, it is a very sticky wicket if you do not have permits for your basement renovation.  It is an even messier situation if you built a garage and now cannot show evidence that it was built within your property boundary’s & with development permits.

We hear the statement so many times from Sellers “I didn’t get a permit because I did not want to pay more taxes”.  Guess what – Pay the little bit of extra tax- It will be a lot less expensive than having to pay a contractor later to certify someone else’s work. It may even frustrate the sale of your home at a time when you really need to sell.

Almost every purchase contract comes with a Home Inspection Condition.  Home Inspectors are trained to look for verification of permits in basements or Garage Additions.  If they can’t find the information they instruct their clients to ask the seller for the permits. Taking out permits and having Safety Code Inspectors Inspect the work at the time of construction is well worth the minimal cost of the permit application.

We recently had three transactions negatively impacted by lack of permits.

In one case the home owner had done all the construction themselves and was able to easily apply for a Home Owners building permit.

Case number two; The Seller was no longer living in the City and had to hire a Permit Correction Company to apply for permits for him.  Just the initial cost of this was approximately $2500 not including the permits, renovations needed to bring the project up to current code & the hold backs that were required to satisfy the buyer.  The sale price of the home was already discounted when the sale happened, and lack of permits cost the seller even more.

In case number three we were acting for the buyer and we were able to negotiate a big chunk of money off the price of the home, so the buyer could address the permit & repair issue.

Lack of permits will cause you unnecessary stress and aggravation when it is time to sell. Not to mention a potential problem with your Insurance company if you ever have a flood in your basement or other catastrophe and your insurance company decides not to cover it because the basement lacks permits

When your Real Estate Agent asks you if there are any lack of permits, be honest & start working to remedy the permit problem before you get an offer on your home.

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