Another basement question

Old 04-28-03, 06:26 AM
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Question Another basement question

I am your standard homeowner- Bought a brand new house 5 years ago. I needed to save some $$$ and wanted to finish basement to make playroom for kids so I did all the work myself. Basically I drylocked, sealed, framed- drywalled etc. I am a do it yourself'er who does everything by the book. I did not change anything structurally or do any plumbing. Just put up walls, drop ceiling and carpet. I had my electrician friend run wires for extra outlets. Now we want to sell the house- I did not get permits at the time- the room is only 20x15. How should I proceed?
-1. Just come clean stating I did work myself?
-2. State I had a contractor do it and thought they had permits.

I am just nervous the home inspection is going to come back to bite me. Any advice??
Old 04-28-03, 08:28 AM
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Who wants to know what you did to the house/why?

*A 'home inspector'?
*A city inspector?
*Are you filling out disclosure forms?

I donít understand why you have to state anything to anyone. Determine if you must disclose what changes/modifications youíve made to the home and proceed from there.

Does any one else got some experience with this?
Old 04-28-03, 09:36 AM
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Our real esate agent told us to go get a permit just in case something happens- we are covered. I just hope I will not have to rip a wall down in the process.
Old 04-28-03, 07:43 PM
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If you go get a permit, you will very likely need to tear off the sheetrock. The inspector cannot inspect what he cannot see. And even if it was all done according to code when originally done, the inspector will require that it meet code on the day the permit was pulled.

If it was me, I'd just wait until "something happens" to do anything at all. Don't lie or fudge on any disclosure forms, or when asked any questions, and hope for the best. It may be that the topic never even comes up.
Old 04-29-03, 05:51 AM
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If you're selling the house, it's very important to disclose that work was done without a permit in your condition report. There's even a section on most standard condition reports for this.

If you don't, you can be held liable for any damages that can occur do to non-code work.

We just sold my fiance's condo and our lawyer was very adamant about us disclosing the basement work done, even though the previous owner did the work.

Most good home inspectors will check the city records and see that your basement wasn't finished before and note that it is now (kind of hard to miss ).

But if you do disclose it, it probably won't be an issue. Most buyers will want the house enough that they'll let the permit issue drop.
Old 04-29-03, 06:00 AM
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This is a bad time to talk about permits.

Pulling a permit or not, is not the question that should not be asked, the question should be why not pull a permit? You can say that you are doing it by the "book" or that you know what you are doing but the issues are more involved than that. Most common reason not to get a permit "My property taxes will increase". Then I hear them say that "the improvements will increase my property value but I don't want my taxes to go up!?" You can't have everything or can you?

Homeowners Insurance becomes an issue. In the event of a loss, obviously your improvements that were done without a permit will not be covered. Once an adjuster sees that there was work that was done without a permit, he just may deny the entire claim. Not knowing what other work may have been done and never got inspected you could be facing a major problem. Investing in a $50 or $500 permit is a minor item when it relates to a home that is worth $200,000! Why risk it?

Selling the home down the line...there is a form that must be filled out by the seller..a "Disclosure Statement" which will cover anything and everything that is documented on the life cycle of the home including "your projects". They might involve something minor or something that should have had a permit. Lenders may deny your buyer's loan because of no permits obtained due to the liability that could jeopardize the integrity of their "collateral". Not disclosing the items is a violation of the law and you can be subject to civil or criminal actions that will just ruin your day. What you think you can get away with now will haunt you later, I guarantee it!

"Reduced sale price of home" could be a real issue. Most properties sold now may be subject to state-licensed Home Inspection Services. These services are excellent as they go into attics, crawl spaces, extremely thorough. All questionable areas are noted on their reports. These may be required within your state or within a specific county or municipality. These can be mandated by the Lender regardless of state/local requirements. In some cases, they can be requested by the Buyer. Lenders may not even approve a loan if permits were not obtained. You may have to take a $20,000 or $30,000 hit for an example on the sales price of the home! Can you afford this? More and more buyers are hiring an inspector due to those that fail to get permits when required. Failure to allow the inspection will not be in your best interest. These inspections will involve everything on the home to include all structural and mechanical systems. Everything must meet the "current local codes".

What happens if I get caught without a permit? You might have to pay double fees for the permit plus possibly a code compliance inspection fee, plus .... You may indeed have to remove any improvements that were done without permits and trust me, they can do it!

In summary, Permits...who needs them?!! Everyone!! Ask yourself this...Isn't your family's safety, enjoyment of the improvements, the benefits reaped at time of sale more important to justify the need for a building permit when required? It's your choice...maybe.

Just some thoughts

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