Home Buying in 91604>Question Details

Rafael, Home Buyer in Santa Monica, CA

Should we buy? Roof work & other without permit in Studio City, CA?

Asked by Rafael, Santa Monica, CA Fri Sep 24, 2010

We are going through the inspection of a house we are planning to purchase. The seller claims that the roof was changed in his disclosure. But there is no permit for it from the files we've got from the city. Also there has been a chimney extension, without a permit. What to do?

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Anita Rich’s answer
I think it is very important to get a copy of the bill. There are times that work is done without a permt but is definitely to code. That would perhaps open a conversation to whether the seller would be willing to call the city. Occasionally the city wants some of the work to be opened up to verify how well it was done.
If the craftsmanship of the work is apparent, you might get lucky. That brings me to the second point. Has the work been done well? Are you planning to stay a long time.?
Can you buy or have seller buy a home warranty?

Good luck.

Anita Rich
Luxury Home Director
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
I would use the lack of permits as a tool to re-negotiate! Another thing to keep in mind is not only how much it will cost you to fix the unpermitted work, BUT how will this affect the property when you're ready to sell down the road.... Think in terms of long term, not just the emotional attachment.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 8, 2010
You have a choice to continue with the sale without delay and get it to code soon unless you can't finance. The city is always interested in getting it to code as safety may be an issue here. The city will be you a certain time frame to correct it once you notify them. Some time it's not a big deal. Many home inspectors are familiar with the issue and correction. He would give you the best and fast advise at this point in time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
If you really want this property, there are "permit doctors" who you can hire to give you a better assessment of the situation & give you possible options and costs to cure the problem areas. Ask your Realtor.

This may apply in your case, after the 1994 Northridge earthquake cities could not handle the permit requests & didn't have enough inspectors to handle the onslaught of requests. There were many chimney repairs completed without the usual inspections &/or permits. I have been an agent in the SF Valley & Westside for going on 18 years & have dealt with these issues in the past.

Susan Gordon
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Walkaway or ask for a nice hefty credit before releasing your contingencies.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 29, 2014
Many properties are bought and sold in LA County every day that are missing permits for work done. First do thorough inspections of the home (expecially the items done without permit). And if the lack of permits was not disclosed to you prior to writing your offer you might want to try to negotiate a credit for it when you make your repair request.
Web Reference: http://MrWestside.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 28, 2010
Ask the seller for documentation that permits were pulled, short of which, negotiate that the seller get permits, accept the responsibility and buy, or walk, provided your agreement permits you to walk.
Web Reference: http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
I agree with Anthony Perez, if you can, get it inspected before closing and get the seller to pay for the permits. If the seller is not willing to pay, you will have to decide if it is something that you are willing to deal with in the future. Please remember, do not make "emotional" decisions. If this house is too much trouble, there are a dozen others out there for you.....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 27, 2010
Very common in our area for these types of repairs to be done with out permit. Usually your propery inspector will tell you if the work was done correctly and if it would meet current code should the city find out about it. These types of issues always come down to how much you paid for the house and how much you love it as your next home may have the same issue.
Web Reference: http://www.TheFoggs.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 25, 2010
Bring it to code prior to closing with a city inspection the seller should pay. We can process permits and inspections. Beware if the roof was installed recently their may be a new energy loss requirements, if the roof does not meet standards it may have to be changed.

Web Reference: http://www.CAcertified.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
If there is no permit to be found, there is no permit. A conservative approach would say that it's best to assume that eventually the city will find out about your unpermitted square footage, at which point they will tell you that you need to tear down the unpermitted construction and re-do it by the book. Roofs and chimneys are expensive. As a Realtor, I can't advise you to buy a home with unpermitted construction, but if you are comfortable taking the chance on possibly needing to replace all of this on your own dime at some point, then you should know that these are the stakes. If you are not comfortable with taking this kind of chance, you may want to pull out of the transaction. If you have any further questions, feel free to give me a call: 323-449-7416.

Brad Reed, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
Permits don't guarantee work is done right, just that someone from the local jurisdiction signed off on it. If your inspector has concerns for the quality of workmanship, you should request additional inspections by qualified specialists; in this case a licensed roofer and a masonry worker.
I've seen Permitted work which should not have been approved and I've seen homeowners do work without permits which exceeds all code requirements. See what the experts say.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 24, 2010
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