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How to Sell a House in California with Un-Permitted Work or Code Violations

Understanding how to sell a house with unpermitted work in California.

How to Sell a House in California with Un-Permitted Work or Code Violations

Not everyone calls a professional when they want to do home repairs or home improvements. While this can be OK when it’s clearing a drain clog or stopping the squeak in your dryer, any alterations to the home’s structures or essential systems like plumbing or electronics can must be done with building permits and according to building codes. When you are selling a house in California, the buyer’s inspector will look for the necessary signatures, permits, and quality of work to indicate that everything is permitted and up to code. If not, they will advise your buyers to look elsewhere. Mortgage lenders also won’t extend a loan to purchase homes with unpermitted work or known code violations.

Fortunately, you have options.

Why Some Homes Can’t Be Sold Due to Code Violations

Most homes that cannot be sold conventionally due to code violations or unpermitted work occur because the last owner (or an uncaught previous owner) did DIY work on the house without going through the proper channels. They didn’t hire licensed contractors, or they did work without a contractor, or they did good work but didn’t get a building permit beforehand.

Alternately, the work was done to code, but building codes have changed enough that you will need new permitted upgrades before the house can be safely sold to a new family.

If the DIYer wasn’t you, it might have been an uncaught previous owner, or you may have inherited the house from the DIYer in question.

Disclose the Problems with a Buyer and Hope for the Best

Your first option for selling a house with unpermitted work or code violations is to disclose. You can tell buyers about the maintenance concerns and let them decide for themselves. This will, of course,  result in lower bids and it can also mean that buyers themselves will have a harder time securing a mortgage for the house. Trying to go this route is typically where your journey starts.

It is also possible that you discovered these code violations as a result of your first interested buyer’s due diligence inspection before the bid was dropped.

Have the Work Inspected and Signed for

If the changes are currently up to code but unpermitted, this could be a simple oversight you can fix. You might be able to get a new permit issued for the house as it is. But you will also need to get a new master builder, electrician, etc. to sign for the work. Most will not, of course, unless they did the work themselves.

Have New Work to Bring Your House Up to Code

The more likely answer is that you will need to have the work complete redone. First, you will get a permit for how the work is supposed to be done. Then a professional team will need to remove the current problem-features and reinstall them according to current building codes. The master builder, electrician, ect. in charge of the new work will sign for it and your house can finally be sold to a conventional buyer.

Sell for Cash Without Further Home Projects or Expenses

If you don’t want to go through the entire hassle of new permits and/or new work on the house, you have one final option: Sell it for cash to a self-financed investment buyer. Investment buyers like Quick Home Offers have the time, resources, and expert teams needed to bring an un-permitted home up to date. We will help you get a difficult-to-sell home off your hands for a fair price and make sure that same challenging house can soon become a properly permitted family home once again.

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