Just about every potential buyer knows that getting a home inspected before purchase is very important and could potentially save the new buyer thousands of dollars. As a matter of fact, unless it’s a cash buyer the home must undergo a full inspection in order to be approved for financing. Banks are more careful than ever these days and not getting a complete home inspection is just not an option.
As an Orlando realtor, I tell my clients that it’s just as important to check out the history of the house as it is to getting the home thoroughly inspected . Whether it’s an addition to the home or a major repair that has taken place, most city planning departments will issue an open permit so that the work may be completed. However, after the work is completed, the law requires another visit from the city rep to sign off on the work and close out the permit. If this is not done, it could create some serious problems for the new buyers.
There was a case last year where a seller took out a permit to replace his roof but he never had the job done and just let the permit expire. He then sold the property in as-is condition to the new buyers and fully disclosed to them about the roof needing to be replaced. When the new owners went to apply for the same permit, they were denied. The fact that they had nothing to do with applying for the first permit didn’t even matter. Because the permit was attached to the house, the new buyers had to pay the city to re-open the permit in order to get the new roof. Sure, the buyer may have been able to file a claim against the seller depending on the circumstances but the money they end up spending on an attorney will probably more than the claim.
Do Your Homework before Buying
It’s not hard to research a property’s history when it comes to building permits. You can go to the city planning department to obtain all the records you need. If you do find an open or expired permit on the home, then you are in a much better position to have the seller resolve it before the closing. Just be sure to do this during your inspection period as stated in your contract.
Another scenario that happens even more often is when a homeowner does repairs to a property without applying for any permits at all. Typically this is something that a good home inspector should be able to point out to you during the inspection. Repairs to the electrical and plumbing systems that have been completed without a permit are not likely to be up to code. Although this doesn’t happen very often, this could be a potential nightmare for the new buyers and cost thousands of dollars.