Apparently it is more than just a matter of "home inspection" in this
case considerable construction modification were made to the property
without pulling appropriate permits and having the work inspected by
the appropriate code enforcement authorities - this is something that
the seller should be expected to resolve before settlement and the
closing on the property at the time of the sale!
Then he will never buy this house. The seller will not agree to those
condition, PLUS will hate his guts for turning him in to the city.
And after he has to pay thos big fines and compliance costs, he will
now want more for the house since the addition is now legal!
(Or, the city makes him tear it out; did the buyer WANT those
features? Just shot himself in the foot!)
How do you know what the seller will or will not agree to? The seller
has put himself in a very bad negotiating position by making unpermitted
improvements to his house. Who said anything about turning him into the
All based on your incorrect assumption that the city found out.
Might be better than buying a house with shoddy, unsafe modifications.
Have you bought many properties where the Seller agreed to pay for
*any* problems that turned up? I have been buying and selling for
over 20 years and it just doesn't happen frequently enought to be a
realistic suggestion. (I've never seen it happen at all, but in then
infinity of the net, am leaving a way out.)
Sure the Buyer can have an inspection. But the Seller is HIGHLY
UNLIKELY TO THE POINT OF IT BEING RIDICULOUS TO EVEN WASTE YOUR TIME
ASKING, to agree to fix "any" problem found. Buyer can show the
Seller the problems and ask, or even get an agreement that (say) the
first $1,000 in repairs is covered, but rational sellers will not
agree to open ended clauses that encourage the Buyer to try to get a
free renovation out of the sale. And if you ask for unreasonable
stuff, you are likely to piss off the Seller and get thrown out of the
deal and NOT get any concessions.
And don't say how do I know the Seller won't NEGOTIATE, SURE he
probably WILL "negotiate", but that is not the same as agreeing to
your ridiculous terms. Whatever makes you think he WILL agree? And
DON'T say there is no harm in asking, there certainly is, if you knew
anything about negotiation.
Septic and wells are the main exceptions to that rule. If a septic or
well fails inspection the seller has to fix or replace it and will
typically not get a penny more on the market for the house. It happened
to me. I never understood why the market worked that way because if I'm
comparing two similar septic houses, the age of the systems is a big
factor for me.
I agree with V. If you turn the seller into the city he will hate you and
probably find a way not to sell you the house. But if it's important to you
to get everything aboveboard then you will have to take the chance and see
what happens. The bank that inspects the house may require the permits
anyway. However, they may overlook the basement. It all depends.
The only party that is concerned with all the permits is the buyer and the
buyer's bank. If the bank doesn't ask for the permits then the buyer has to
make a deciscion whether or not they care. Many banks will tell you to
cover up the stove so they can give the OK for the mortgage.
Basha firstname.lastname@example.org (Basha) wrote in message
Risk in what sense?
Certainly there is a risk that the basement does not meet code, but
this is probably fixable.
With finished basements there is always a risk that your basement
might someday flood, so that's something I would consider and weigh.
There is a risk that your property tax will go up.
There is a risk that you may overestimate the value of having a
finsihed basement when you make your offer. This would be my primary
concern, because it's not something you can undo.
From a financial perspective, I would be careful about that last risk
when making my offer. I just bought a house with a finished basement
(there was a permit and everything passed code, so I'm not worried
about that part). For me and my needs, it adds substantially to the
usable square footage of the home (two "bedrooms" and a large full
bath), extra sq footage I couldn't afford otherwise.
The way it was designed, you don't get the impression you are in a
finished basement. Everything has been finished very nicely with the
same quality of materials in the rest of the house so it doesn't
"feel" sub-par. Plus the way the stairs are configured, it flows
nicely with the rest of the house and doesn't make you feel you're
entering a basement at all.
However, it was very tempting upon initial viewing to consider these
extra bedrooms and make a bid as if it was a 4-bedroom house, not a
2-bedroom house with two "bonus" basement rooms that *might* be used
as bedrooms (or may someday flood and be completely unusable). I was
very careful in determining what I wanted to offer. I did not want to
make the mistake of comparing the value of this house to a true
4-bedroom. I compared it instead to a 2-bedroom, and added a little
extra for the fact that it had a nicely finished basement. This was
exactly how the assessor ended up looking at it, too.
Incidentally, it was advertised by the realtor as a 4 bedroom, but
when I saw these two bedrooms, I politely corrected her on that.
I feel sorry for my neighbors who didn't think it through the same way
I did; they ended up, IMHO, grossly overpaying for their property. Oh
well... I suppose that ultimately when it comes time to sell, I may
luck out and find someone willing to make that mistake, too.
Buyer should also be careful when assessing the value of finished
Attic space is typically better than basement space because it isn't below
ground. As long as the place is insulater properly and isn't a sauna in
the summer and a freezer in the winter it is no different than an upstairs
room (other than the extra flight of stairs).
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