I didn't sift through all of the sub-replies, just the top level.
In case nobody mentioned these things:
1) The need for "permits" varies in every single municipality
in the land. Some require a permit for everything, some have
a specific list of projects, some classify need based on
"changing the structural integrity..." or some similar wording.
Check with your muni, that's the ONLY safe way to answer that.
2) As others have pointed out, don't confuse permits with the
quality/safeness of the work. It may still be OK, you need
an inspection to tell you that.
3) That's a lot of living space, and you can almost bet that
it's not documented for tax assessment purposes. Count on
the taxes going WAY up after the cat is out of the bag.
Baisez-les s'ils ne peuvent pas prendre une plaisanterie
Sounds too much like what a certain relative of mine did...their new
house's basement and roof leak and rather than fight with the builder,
they finished the basement themselves, and covered the water damage
stains, etc. They are planning on selling without disclosure, and now
deny, even to family members who are well aware of all this, that it
ever happened. In some areas codes are not really enforced, but
lenders may feel otherwise about accepting this. It is up to you but
at least get an inspection. Good luck, hope you find a good house
Basha firstname.lastname@example.org (Basha) wrote in message
Thanks for all your comments.
The first step I am going to do today is going to the muncipal office
and enquire about this. I will also talk to one of the city
I will post the happenings.
I went to the city office directly and talked to one of the inspectors
and few other guys in community development, construction and
engineering dept. They said, once the construction is done they are
not going to give any permit and they are not going to come to the
house to check it. They also said the previous owner completed the
basement and may not have reported to city to save some taxes. I asked
is part of the house "ILLEGAL". They said it is not called illegal but
improper, also said there are quiet a no of people who don't report
their enhancements to their houses which may involve adding a bathroom
or bedroom etc. The risk is whether they have done the proper electic
and plumbing work or not. I asked him how to ensure whether it is done
in a proper way. He told me it is very difficult to find out once it
is done. It may involve tearingup the sheets covering the electric and
plumbing work. He also advised me to ask the seller to put a $10k in
an escrow account which cover up the costs if anything happens in the
next 3 or 5 years. If nothing happens at the end of 3 or 5 years,
seller will get the money back.
Anyways, my realtor brought a market analysis of the houses in this
area (Plymouth, Minnesota) and we came to an amount which we can
offer. We offred the seller 5k more than the average selling price and
also I bear all the minor repairs in the house. The average price is
20k less than the seller's list price. Repairs in the house are: One
of the closet door broke may need a replacement, all the sloset doors
are stick to the carpet and are difficult to open and they may need a
half inch cut at the bottom of the doors. Family room doesn't have the
the air intake, hot air comes from the furnace but there is no vent to
take the air from that room. It's a closed room. Back side of the
house some of the vinyl sheets came out of the wall. It needs a fix
and there are many other small things. Those I can do myself. (My
realtor said the total may cost around $3000). 2 days back we bid with
condition-asking the seller to put the money $10k in escrow account.
Seller rejected the bid asking $10k more and didn't like the condition
of keeping the money in escrow account.
That's what happend in the last week.
The house is 1994 built, split level completely finished (2260sft) in
Plymouth, Minnesota. (suburb of Minneapolis)
Shows you what happens when you take real estate advice from an
Chances slim to none that any seller would agree to skip $10,000 for 3
to 5 years, based on the buyer not coming up with "ANYTHING" in that
time. What a crock of bull, you showed yourself to be a fool if you
tried to impose this under those circumstances.
(BTW, what did your bank think of the $10k escrow? Or didn't you ask
You're just full of yourself aren't you? It must be an awesome task to
be omniscient. "The seller won't do this". "The seller won't agree to
that". You should write some books to share your amazing grasp on human
On 17 Nov 2003 11:26:50 -0800, Basha email@example.com (Basha) wrote:
No matter WHAT happens in the basement?...and no matter WHAT causes
the damage? Would YOU agree to such a thing?
1. If its CERTAIN that yer gonna be the only bidder on that house in
the next 3-5 years, then that proposal MIGHT fly! If not, he'd be
just as well off just keeping it listed...and taking his chances.
2. If he's mentally incompetent to sell the house, he may indeed go
with that idea. I don't think anyone in his right mind would go for
A market analysis is interesting to look at. Other than that, it has
no real value to the buyer. The seller MIGHT have looked at one
before he listed...or even did one of his own. But the buyer usually
buys the house thru emotion...or that of the spouse.
If you want the house bad enough...and if you don't piss off the
seller so that he won't sell to you...you'll buy the house.
If he would have accepted, I would have been REALLY worried if I were
$10k more than WHAT?. I lost track! lol
What amount is on the table? What's the offered selling price now?
No sane person would...who has an otherwise saleable property. You
can buy extra insurance if you think this may be a problem.
If yer SERIOUS about buying this house...and are not just posting here
for your health...and all those minor problems are the only problems
you could find...and you REALLY want the house...then...
I'd buy the house. Life is a crap shoot, anyway. The homeowner seems
to be conscientious.
Yer there...and its your money! So...you decide.
Have a nice week...
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
Just some friendly advice:
Real estate people don't give reliable estimates of what repairs will cost.
Especially when you are the buyer, and the recipient of these estimates.
It's not their area of expertise, really, but they do have ample motivation
to answer those questions and smooth things over. $3000 may cover it, maybe
only if done poorly by a very low quality contractor. It may not even cover
it then. Also, asking a seller to throw $10k in escrow against unknown
problems is pretty wishful thinking - think about it, given reversed roles,
would you be willing to do it? There's always someone, somewhere, who will
buy as is.
The bottom line is that any house is a risk. Even one unmodified by the
owner, in apparently good shape could have killer black mold hanging around
somewhere waiting to bloom. You'll drive yourself nuts trying to cover every
liability. In the end, you have to seek trusted advice about what real
problems the house has, use your own eyes, and make a decision. Find or hire
an independant handyman, and pay to have him estimate the work that needs to
be done - then you know, and you have a somewhat documented case for
adjusting the price to cover repairs. Also, the handyman/contractor's advice
about the house would be a valuable addition to the inspector's. Inspector's
are good for checking some major things, and certain safety things, but they
miss some very obvious things you will end up having to fix.
Just remember, when you are the buyer, and the agent says "Oh, that? That's
no problem!" they really mean "Oh, that? That's no problem....for me!"
WOW! This thread drags on so LONG. As a seller, if he did not hide
anything from buyer, he did his job. As a buyer, if you want to buy
after collecting all the info and inspection of the house, just make
a conditional offer. Then you two negotiate, if it does not work out,
go find another house. Or build a house to your heart's content like
I did. That is not the only house you can buy. If you like that house
SO much, then by all means, buy it and take the consequences.
Let's move on.
Speaking from experience:
My current house had a third bedroom added and a garage finished into living
space and a new garage built without permits (at least that I can tell). All
done by a DIY'er. It even made it into a national magazine as a model
project. THings that were done wrong: Grade raised above the top of
foundation, Hot and Nuetral reversed in the garage refinish, Skylights
installed wrong, Bay windows installed wrong, THe upgrage to 100 amp service
did not upgrade the wire leading to the house (so it burnt out when I turned
the AC on), Roof flashing installed wrong, septic tank sized for a 2 bedroom
house, high effiency furnace with no flue liner, lack of GFI's, radiant
heating system incorrectly installed. I could go on but I'm too busy
scratching my head on why some things were done.
Don't get me wrong, I love my house and am slowly correcting things but the
home inspection only caught 2 of the issues. Proper permits and inspections
would have found most of them. Flags should go up if the work was done by a
DIY'er and a more thorough inspection performed. My bank did not even care
if there were permits for past work.
I would contact the local building inspection department to see if there
is any way to have it inspected after the fact. If there is, insist
that the seller do this, and correct any violations, before you close.
If not, insist that the seller pay to have the basement checked out by a
qualified building inspector and pay for any safety problems uncovered.
Having just sold and bought a house, the buyer pays for any inspection that
he wants. The seller's obligation is to disclose truthfully what he knows
about the property.
At least around here that is the how it is done.
If finishing the basement requires a permit and the seller did so
without one then what they have done is ILLEGAL. This could create a
mess for the buyer. In a situation like this it should be up to the
seller to prove that the improvements were done safely.
Actually, IF work was done, that required proper permits, and they were NOT
pulled, then, the local jurisdiction CAN have the work removed....fines will
be issued in the least...here it is twice the original amount.
IF the work was done by a non licenced person, in the event that a licenced
person was required to do it, and no permits (of course) pulled, then the
person that actually did the work can be hit with a felony charge, and jail
Happens ALL the time in areas that follow the law...particularly here...in
his particular area, it might not be the case.
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