Home Buying in Lebanon>Question Details

Wayne Happ, Other/Just Looking in Califon, NJ

I in the home inspection part of buying a house in Lebanon NJ.

Asked by Wayne Happ, Califon, NJ Fri Dec 14, 2007

the house, including plumbing and electrical, heating. But it does not look like electrical, plumbing was done by licensed professionals. There are various problems like leaking faucets and electrical outlets not grounded, dangling wires etc. What's the NJ law in regard to permits. Since the seller is selling the property as a transaction. I'm under the impression that they need permits for this work. Do they have to supply them? Won't I have to show the permits when I go to sell the house. One final question, does the electrical, plumbing work need to be inspected and approved by a licensed professional? I see no stickers or anything indicating that an inspection was done. The disclosure claims that an inspection was done. What evidence can i require to document this?

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Hi Wayne,

I would absolutely not buy a house where significant electrical and plumbing work was done by non-licensed professionals. I would also not buy a house where any additions, decks, hot tubs, basement finish, attic finish, was not done with permits. YOU are responsible if you buy the house and the town later re-assesses and finds a lot of improvements for which permits were never issued. Your property taxes could take a huge jump if a lot of work was done without a permit. Or even worse, if the improvements result in a zoning violation, you could be responsible to remove the addition/improvement and/or pay huge fines.

And even if the electrical work was done by a professional, you definitely want it to have been done with permits. All electrical work should be seen by 2 sets of professional eyes, the electrician and the building inspector.

To summarize: electrical and plumbing work done by amateurs = DO NOT BUY.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 14, 2007

How old is this home that you're buying? Does the home look like there was a recent renovation or has it been there for many years. A leaky faucet and non grounded receptacles aren't a big deal. If the home inspector felt that the house was in poor shape, I wouldn't buy it. But from what it sounds FIRST I would go to the building department in the town the home is in and check the history or permits taken out.

SECOND I would contact a electrician and plumber to go to the house and take a look at the systems. ONLY THEY WILL BE ABLE TO TELL YOU IF IT WAS DONE BY AN AMATEUR or PROFESSIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You always need a permit for things you do to the house. NO you do not have to be a professional to do the work if YOU'RE THE OWNER. OWNERS are the only people exempt from being a licensed "------" in order to take out a permit and have the town come in and say everything is good. Trust me the town inspector will look over the work very carefully when it's done by the owner.

Good luck Wayne, just remember there is NO SUCH thing as the perfect home. They all have problems!
Web Reference: http://www.agentjustin.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 15, 2007
Permits have been required in NJ for over 30 years. The work you described would have required permits. As there is only one legal owner of a home, the current owner is responsible for all the conditions, regardless as to whether or not they did the work. You should contact the township (for any home you purchase) and ask if any permits were taken out for the property and if any are still open (no final inspection). Additionally, a good home inspector should identify any significant items that may have required permits.

Deciding to buy a home with issues has less to do with the issues themselves and more to do with the net cost implication. Most problems can be repaired/corrected so it's just a matter of factoring those costs when negotiating the sales price. After all, all homes have problems and it's better to know what they are and fix them then not to find them. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Rafi Footerman
Mid Jersey Inspections
NJ Home Inspection Lic. #076900
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2007
You want to contact the building department in Lebanon. They will have records of any permits pulled and/or closed or open permits. They will also let you know what work has to be permitted and what work does not. You are correct though in your assumption that typically, plumbing and electric work if it isn't minor requires permits, licensed professionals, and inspection from the building department. It is a good practice to make sure this in order before purchasing.

Most real estate contracts do have a clause that indicates that any work done on the property was done with proper permits pulled, etc.

The below website for Lebanon should help too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 14, 2007
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