Home Buying in Arlington>Question Details

homebuyer, Home Buyer in Reading, MA

How much would it cost to make a bath and kitchen code complaint ?

Asked by homebuyer, Reading, MA Thu Apr 10, 2014

We have found a house in a good location . It needs some work (replace furnace, put a sump pump, possibly upgrade electrical from 100 AMP to 200) . We are fine with those. The bigger problem is, the house has an additional bath and a new kitchen alongwith basement for which there was no permit and inspection (the old kitchen was converted to a office) . These were build sometime in 80s (house built in 1955). I checked with the building department. They said if I do any work (which I will need to as mentioned above), they might (if they see serious code violation) ask me to pull permit and bring the work up to today's code.
Question -- How much can be the expected cost to bring bath and ktichen to today's code ? I am planning to ask for a discount to seller

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Is it a new basement or just a finished basement? Either way permits should of been pulled. As well as for the kitchen and bath.

How long ago was the work done? Maybe grandfathered in? But once you do work (to the areas in question) you have to bring things up to code.

If all you plan on doing is the furnace, sump and elect upgrades, it may not be necessary.

All that said, confirm what I say with your attorney.

But more importantly for your own protection, you do want to know that the work that was done without the permits was done correctly, your home inspector or a licensed builder (which I am) should be able to tell you based on what they can see if it would meet todays codes. Neither have x-ray eyes to see that the framing, electric and plumbing behind the walls was done correctly.

To bring things up to code can vary greatly based on the extent of the issues I've raised above. It could also cost nothing. PS I also see this work was done in the 80's so even if you were to replace a kitchen or the bath today, they would have to be brought up to today's codes. ie: GFI no in the 80's yes today. Bath ventilation 80's (window ok) today you need a fan.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2014
Dear homebuyer.

This is not the place to get this question answered.
I would get 3 different contractors to estimate the work - after looking at the specific property in person.

I might even go so fas as to get electricians, plumbers, and structural contractors to give me estimates.
That way the tradespeople will be quoting without a general contractor's markup.

I would not rely on answers that you get with no first hand knowledge of the actual property.

(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.
Also, while I have been a VIP+ - over 1750 questions answered, over 250 Thumbs up and best answers combined - I do not try to mantain VIP status anymore.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2014
As already noted, you'll have to assume you're beginning from scratch.

However, having said that, people can wildly overpay for bathrooms and kitchens. I recently rehabbed a house. It had two baths--one that needed to be gutted but nothing moved around. The other not only needed to be gutted, but things moved around, concrete jackhammered to put in a drain line, etc. The cost per bath was about $7,500.

As for the kitchen, we gutted that, ran new wiring, installed new lighting, moved wall switches around, put in all new cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc. We even had to move a wall. The cost was about $17,000. And we certainly could have done it cheaper.

Incidentally, the house I rehabbed sounds about like yours. It was built in 1950, and the previous owners had put in one of those baths around 1980. So--if you really proceed carefully, get multiple bids, check out your contractors, and so on--I would expect you could do what you're trying to do for about what it cost us.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2014
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
You are potentially looking at essentially starting from scratch. The building inspector may require that the walls be opened to inspect wiring, plumbing, etc. In addition to the advice you've already received, I recommend finding a contractor that has a good working relationship with the local building inspector. That may be your best bet to get an understanding of the potential scope of the project and exactly what may be required to get the home in compliance.

When dealing with the building inspector it's important to convey that you are not the one who created the issue, but that you are trying to correct the problem in the proper manner.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2014
The best thing to do is get a contractor in to give you a quote.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2014
It can really vary wildly. It would depend on how out of code the kitchen & bath are. You should have a licensed contractor take a look and give you a proper estimate then have them estimate on the high side to cover any unexpected findings that may crop up in the course of correcting the un-permitted work. Another issue you may have is with your home insurance in case there is a problem before or during the work. You should go over this potential with your insurance agent too in addition to working the proper wording into any offer/contract with your own attorney.

Proceed with caution & make sure you're properly informed and covered,

Best Wishes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 10, 2014
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