Friday, November 02, 2012


Usually the subjects most commonly dealt with on the web are such items as mortgage rates or sales trends (wait; we'll get to those is a bit). However, today I want to discuss the common issue of whether or not to obtain permits for work on your home. This issue frequently comes up in buying or selling a home, as well as when you own the home and are thinking of doing some work on it.

The process on its face is simple. You may check to be sure that all work done on the home you're thinking of buying was properly done and with permits. This is part of your due diligence. When you sell, failure to have obtained permits could cost you quite a bit of money if that fact pops up and is disclosed to a potential buyer. They don't want to have to worry over the correctness and safety of work that was done. While you own the home, you may shy away from the idea because: you don't wish to pay permit fees; you don't want to pay for acceptable drawn plans that most permit applications require as part of the process; or you feel that you have a good contractor who knows what he is doing and so things will be done correctly.

This failure may end up costing you many thousands of Dollars when you try to sell. Frequently, cities and towns are requiring resale inspections prior to an owner selling his or her house. Usually done to insure safety and health codes are observed, they also will expose unpermitted work. This can lead to, at a minimum, being required to pay the permit fees and penalties as well, and at worst, being ordered to tear out the unpermitted work. While failure to permit usually won't preclude sale of your home, the mere existence of the issue can result in a buyer paying far less than what you are asking for the home, again a loss of thousands of Dollars. I am personally aware of a home in Mill Valley where this issue has both resulted in a cancelled sale and a reduction of price of a subsequent sale. Recommendation from here: pay the extra money if you're having work done and get the permit. Also, make certain to have the final inspection when the work is completed. You save a lot of time, money and aggravation in the long run.

Now: rates. As has been the case all year, mortgage interest rates continue at or near record lows. This continues to be a spur to buyers looking for their dream house. Thus, an excellent time to put your home on the market. If you're a buyer, it's obviously a good reason to get going.
Questions?: Call us: Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.


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