What should I do about a house I'm getting ready to buy that has a new garage
but the owner never got a permit for it?
Long story short - 44 year old home with new 3 year old garage in back. Looks
OK as far as being away from easements and property boundaries. My home
inspector didn't notice anything unsafe, but he's not a building or code
inspector. Entire garage electric is fed off of a GFI circuit on from the
deck. Seller said that he remembers getting a permit but can't locate the
copy. Multiple calls to local gov't offices indicate that no permit was ever
obtained. We can only assume that one was never issued nor was the building
I have two main concerns. Safety and resale.
Safety. It may be possible that the garage was not built properly and is
unsafe or may fall apart after some time (or some other issue). I don't
really know how to address this without getting a building inspector to check
it out (more on that later).
Resale. When we sell the house later on we may be faced with similar issues.
My brother-in-law and his wife had to get permits for their finished basement
when they sold their home nine years ago. They were the fifth owner of the
home, and it was the second owner who finished the basement. It was quite a
My potential solutions are:
1. - getting someone in the home or garage building business to come out
and check out the garage. They should be able to look at it and see if it's
built properly and have an opinion about it complying with local building
2. - get a proper permit and inspection. Problem, and I know this sounds
screwey, but I can't. I've been told that only the homeowner can do this.
AND, the homeowner has to sign an affidavit stating that he won't sell the
home for one year. Sounds crazy and illogical I know. It was explained that
the rule was put into place because of some sleazy rehabbers doing poor work
and then flipping properties. I'm going to confirm that Monday
I could apply for a permit and inspection after I close on the property. But,
what if there is some serious problem that will cost many dollars to fix?
Yeah, I can go back to the sellers. But, I'd rather resolve all that now
while I'm still in control.
So, what suggestions can you offer?
Any help is greatly appreciated.