Unpermitted Additions When Buying and Selling Real Estate

​​​​​​​When it comes to buying or selling a home, one factor that can significantly impact the transaction is the presence of unpermitted additions. Unpermitted additions refer to any structural changes or modifications made to a property without obtaining the required permits from local authorities, and they are common in San Diego neighborhoods and throughout the state and country. In this article, we will explore the effects of unpermitted additions on real estate transactions and shed light on some crucial points to consider.

  1. Unpermitted Doesn't Necessarily Mean Poorly Made: First and foremost, it's essential to understand that unpermitted additions do not automatically imply poor craftsmanship or inferior quality. While some unpermitted work may indeed fall short of building codes and standards, others may be well-executed and functionally sound. However, since they lack official approval, unpermitted additions can still pose challenges during the buying or selling process.

  2. Unpermitted Work Can Be Permitted After the Fact: If unpermitted additions are discovered during the home buying or selling process, it is possible to retroactively obtain the necessary permits. However, doing so often involves a specific procedure that varies depending on local regulations. In most cases, homeowners will need to submit an application, provide relevant documentation, and potentially make updates or corrections to ensure compliance with building codes. This additional effort and cost can become a deterrent for potential buyers or impact the negotiations.

  3. Appraisals May Be Affected by Unpermitted Additions: Unpermitted additions can also have an impact on property appraisals, particularly if the appraiser deems the work to be substandard or non-compliant with building codes. Appraisers are responsible for assessing the value of a home based on various factors, including its condition and compliance with regulations. If unpermitted additions are found to be poorly executed or potentially hazardous, the appraiser may assign a lower value to the property. This can result in challenges during financing and negotiations between buyers and sellers.

  4. Legal and Financial Risks: Unpermitted additions can pose legal and financial risks for both buyers and sellers. Buyers may be hesitant to purchase a property with unpermitted additions due to concerns about potential liability, future repairs, or difficulties with insurance coverage. On the other hand, sellers may face legal consequences for failing to disclose unpermitted additions or face challenges in obtaining a fair price for their property. It is crucial for both parties to understand the implications and seek professional legal guidance to navigate these situations successfully.

Conclusion: Unpermitted additions can significantly impact the buying or selling of a home. While unpermitted work doesn't always imply poor craftsmanship, it may necessitate additional steps to obtain the necessary permits or make updates to ensure compliance. Appraisals can also be affected if the work is deemed substandard, leading to a lower property valuation. It is crucial for buyers and sellers to be aware of the potential legal and financial risks associated with unpermitted additions and seek professional guidance to navigate these challenges effectively. Ultimately, transparency, open communication, and compliance with building codes can help facilitate smoother real estate transactions.

John Collins is twenty year resident of the San Diego coastal community, and a successful residential real estate agent and Realtor® since 2013. He specializes in the sale and purchase of San Diego real estate including luxury homes, condos, townhomes, investment properties, and first time buyers. John Collins is licensed with the State of California, CalRE# 01948818 and holds professional designations in real estate negotiation, real estate luxury home marketing, and handling distressed properties.

John Collins runs Collins Coastal, and is affiliated with Coldwell Banker realty. He is a highly rated San Diego Real Estate Agent. See His Google Business Profile And Reviews Here.

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