Home Buying in 94536>Question Details

kimberly_pen…, Home Buyer in 98203

We are selling our home and my huband put in a craft room for me over garage. It was done without permits. We did not include it in the square footage

Asked by kimberly_penney, 98203 Tue Sep 11, 2012

It does not have direct access to main part of house and does not have a closet. The buyers have had the inspection done and only thing they thought it should have was a fire space. They want to have city come and inspect and ask what they can do to get the permits. Does this set us up for trouble with the city?

Help the community by answering this question:


In order to legalized any room made without the city's permit, the owners of the property have to fill out an application for a permit. You are the only ones that can do that, buyers do not have the right to do so. As long as you disclose that information on the MLS and the lender agree to give them the loan, it should not be a problem. Another option, if you want to sell the house will be leaving the garage the way it was originally. You do not need a permit for this action.

Best of Luck,

Maria E. Cipollone

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2012
From the lender's point of view: if the property appraises at value and the appraiser does not make mention of any health or safety issues with the craft room that should be enough for the lender.

If they have an inspection and decide not to purchase your home due to whatever was found in that inspection, you will be required to disclose as material fact because now you know it.

Have them take it as is and ieave it be.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
There is no doubt about it. If a city inspector comes out to your home, they will not only require you to have permits on the craft room, but may find other issues as well while they are there.

Knowing that it is not permitted, they most likely will have you open up walls to certify plumbing and/or electrical and then could look at building codes not only the room, but as it may apply in other areas of the home as well. They could possiblyt ask that the room be taken down.

My advice would be to tell them to buy the property As-Is and then look at having it inspected after the fact.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
You should check with your local city building safety/code enforcement office. The law will vary from city to city.

For examlpe, the City of Compton California requires a PRE-SALE inspection on all rpoerties. The cost of the inspection is due and payable by the seller. If the city determines there are unpermitted additions they can insist the addition be brought up to code and permitted, or they may say the addition has to be demolished. Other cities have followed this example. My advice to you is to please check with your city to find out what they require/allow.

Best of luck to you!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 21, 2012
Good afternoon Kimberly, Although the room was done without permits all the listing agent will need to do is disclose that in the Multiple Listing Service. Once the buyers become the owners of the property, then they can find out from the city the details of permitting the room. The buyers should not be bringing the city in to get involved before the purchase. The Listing agent should place in the listing remarks this is an "as is" sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
The buyers have no right to bring the city inspector into your house and you do not want them to do so.

If the buyers want to have the city inspect the space after the house is theirs that will be their decision. As long as you have clearly disclosed that the room was created without a permit and is not included in the advertized living space for the house. Insist that this buyer or any other buyer take the house with the space “as is”.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
If all else fails, then you can merely say that this is nice, large storage space that the buyers can use any way they want. As long as you don't promote is as part of the total heated square footage of the house, or as a bonus room, the best one can do at this point is refer to is as storage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
Hi Kimberly,

"They want to have city come and inspect and ask what they can do to get the permits. Does this set us up for trouble with the city?"

Sure does and I agree with the "AS IS" comments as well.

Furthermore, assuming you are using the most recent version of the standard CAR Residential Purchase Agreement, Para 10A (last sentence), states,

"Without Seller’s prior written consent, Buyer shall neither make nor cause to be made: (i) invasive or destructive Buyer Investigations; or (ii) inspections by any governmental building or zoning inspector or government employee, unless required by Law."

Best of luck! –Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
From what I know; the two relevant criteria are;
Did you change the FOOTPRINT of the house; did you expand the foundation?
Did you add walls; building above the Gargage?

It sounds like the answer is NO to both.
It sounds like you just improved a room that was already there.

From what I know, you should be Okay; Just don't make a big deal about it to anyone.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
From past experience, The City of Fremont is very strict with build outs and permits.
If the city determines you are unable to keep your craft room, you will have to pay for a demo permit and have it removed.

Ana Lopez
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
Most of us will not know the requirements of your city. However we can give you basic infromation. As we as not reading your contract.

Not sure if you need to allow the city to come into your home if you don't want them. It doesn't sound like a deal breaker if the city doesn't approve. Worst I can tell is the city might want it back to original form.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
I have seen these issues pop up every now and again over my 28 years selling real estate and each situation is different. As long as you have properly disclosed the fact that that space was done without permits and the buyer has accepted that and the appraiser or lender are not requiring permits then I personally would not allow city inspectors to inspect this space should the buyer wish this space to be inspected they can do so after they own the property but again I only say this only if the buyers knew this space was inpermitted prior to having their offer accepted. Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
I agree with John. If the City comes out, their requirements become recorded and whether or not the current Buyers proceed, you will be on the hook to do what ever they require. If the Buyers will not take the home AS-IS then find new Buyers who will and make sure they are using conventional financing. There are lots of them out there looking right now!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
Yes it would. When the City comes out, they will want you to open walls to check electrical, framing and other construction components before issuing a permit.

In addition, the City will then not allow you to do anything going forward until it is properly permitted. Part if this is for City fee's of course, but to the greater extent it is done to ensure it is safe for those that live in the home.

My recommendatiion would be to have the buyers take it As-Is, go through that permit process or take it down and return it to its original state.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 11, 2012
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