I made some new electrical circuits in my house, like a garage
subpanel for example. I use it to power my electric powered toys in
the garage. Needless to say, I never bothered with permits, although,
I think, these changes do meet code (I tried to do so). My question
is, if I decide to sell my house, is the most sensible thing to just
remove the subpanel and the wiring? To not have any possible issues
with the inspectors? For typical house owning, TV watching morons,
having that subpanel in the garage offers very little value, so, I
think, it is easiest to just remove that unpermitted circuit. Good or
On Mon, 17 Jul 2006 14:59:24 GMT, email@example.com wrote:
I recently sold a house that did not have a permit for an inside floor
(yes I got beat-up here about permits (grin). I disclosed this issue
to the buyer beforehand. The buyer wanted documents related to
materials used, statement of work, etc. I did have what they wanted,
but not the permit. If necessary I was willing to crawl to the
building department and try to rectify the permit issues, including
They had a home inspection and was happy.
If you do remove it I suspect you would have to disclose both the
install and removal to a buyer, but I'm not a lawyer. You can ask a
local Real Estate agent, perhaps.
your better off hiring your OWN home inspector to see what issues the
buyers one will have.
your inspector can check your install.
then you give potential buyers the inspection they MIGHT be happy with
the one you provide.
a inpector who finds lots of even minor troubles can and does scare off
buyers. better to fix what you can in advance.
buyers will demand things like registered electrician to replace flakey
receptable. whereas you would just go buy and install one.
a pre inspection can save you biig bucks
Just leave it. If it meet code, it should not be an issue at all. If I was
looking to buy your house, that would be a big plus for me. I'm sure it
must have been done with a permit, but the paperwork is long gone; you look
honest to me.
Go through the house and see what else may be an issue. Correct the little
stuff. If the potential buyer wants other work done, let him do it.
My attitude is: This is my price, take it or leave it. If you want me to
fix these things, it will add $3000 to the selling price. .
I've found myself saying this a lot lately, I agree with Ed. Don't
waste time & money fixing, painting, etc. Last house I sold had some
minor issues on inspection, one was the drip tube on the water heater
T&P was too short, buyer wanted it fixed.
Pointless to mess around with this trivial stuff at that point in a
sale. If I had it fixed or did it myself they would want to
re-inspect, maybe work isn't to their standard, blah-blah-blah. I gave
them $100 bucks off to hire their own plumber or go out to dinner.
Getting hung up on hundreds of dollars when the sale is for tens of
thousands doesn't make sense for anyone.
workman-like manner a Home Inspector usually has no way of knowing,
based on a visual inspection and a few basic tests, if it a permit had
been pulled or not (an exception would by a sign-off tag left by a
inspector from whatever body issued a permit for that portion of the
But also, from a practical standpoint, if a HI sees what appears to be
non-permitted work, that's a red flag that there may be other
non-permitted DYI work present...I won't say the HI will be harder on
the house, but they probably will be just bit a more careful and
conservative during both the inspection and report writing - it's just
a natural CYA reaction.
And one of the ways they may be more careful is to stress to the buyer
that they might want go down to City Hall and check to see if permits
were pulled for the work with observed defects - which can open a BIG
can of worms if other non-permitted work has been done as well - even
if that work was done by some owner previous to the seller, in many
places it's ALL all going to be the seller's responsibility to
Another issue is the situation where a HI performing a buyer's
inspection suspects that significant defects are being deliberately
This is a judgment call - it's just human nature to hang a picture
over a crack.
But when I'm standing in the basement, and the seller's wife suddenly
appears with her chest hanging out of her blouse to make conversation,
my first thought has GOT to be: "OK, where does she NOT want me to
look? Humm, what's this steel shelving stuffed full of stuff doing all
by itself against that wall by the corner of that window.... think
I'll get out the inspection mirror and the flashlight... man, that's
one BIG crack in that foundation wall back there ...".
In that situation the HI pretty much has to go into self defense mode
- think as though they are in pre-litigation territory and ask
themselves "what to I need to do protect myself if I find that two or
three years hence I'm on the witness stand explaining what I did and
didn't find here today" - and take as much time as necessary - and
then some - to inspect extra throughly for hidden defects, and then
report *every* defect they find, however minor, as well as every clue
to possible problems in areas they were not able to inspect.
And while I try to write every report dispassionately and to the same
standards, spending an extra half hour in a wet crawl space or a 140F
attic looking for clues that someone is hiding something, and then
spending extra hours trying to write an absolutely attorney-proof
report, does not improve anyone's state of mind - I've met inspectors
who "write hard" and "stick it to the SOB" in this situtation.
So IMO when preparing to put you home on the market it's wise to try to
put yourself in the buyer's HI shoes, either by getting a prelisting
inspection so you know what major issues will turn up on the HI's
report, or at least inventorying the major issues you are aware of.
That way you will be prepared to resolve them during negotiators with a
potential buyer - for example by having a few quotes in hand to
replace an elderly roof - so you are not negotiating blind, or
scrambling to get a handle on such costs..
Paragon Home Inspection, LLC
I suggest you check with your local government about their procedures
when a home is sold. Within 20 miles of my home, some towns require a
pre sale inspection by the town inspector; some provide it (with a
charge) if you request it, and some require no inspection at all.
Depending on what your town does, you can make an informed decision.
I'm curious about your statement that you tried to meet code; my
experience is that almost anyone can do an installation, but few, other
than electricians, know what the actual code requirements are.
On Mon, 17 Jul 2006 14:59:24 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Good in that you are considering the question. Bad in that you
didn't include the jurisdiction that applies to you. Almost 100
percent of the logic comes from the jurisdiction..
If you lived in El Paso, Texas, then I'd consider you a complete and
total fool for even thinking about code. Sure they have codes.
Would a sale generate a search of government permits for everything in
the house - Absolutey not.
If you lived in Boston, then maybe you should consider that it might
be cheaper to take everything out.
Sell your house 'as-is' and disclose those things that are major such
as termite damage, etc.
I have heard of a few instances from my customers where they were asked to
provide permit information for work that the previous owners had done.
After being in that situation they now know to ask for permits when getting
any work done themselves and also when buying a house they would want to
know if permits were issued. This is in New Jersey and it seems to becoming
more and more prevalent.
I suggest that you contact your building department and ask them what the
permit requirements are for the work that you did. If they are required ask
about getting one after the fact and get an inspection now. It always good
to have these things done for your insurance company, and mortgage holder as
A couple comments selling as is will cost the seller big bucks, since
the buyer will suspect some big hidden troubles....
as is or not fixing minor DIY stuff?
90% of buyers today want a home in move in condition. they dont want to
deal with remodeling or repairing at a time when they are probably
strapped out buying the most expensive home they can afford:(
When attempting to sell something elminating 90% of your potential
buyers isnt a good idea.....
best to find out whats wrong with your home and fiox all the minor
the too short T&P line may mean to some potential buyers a slip shod
owner who may have done other hidden work on the cheap....
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