Home Buying in Milton>Question Details

gagodrochon, Home Buyer in Milton, MA

We saw a house in Milton which we liked, did our research, and found that they did not obtain building permits. What is the risk?

Asked by gagodrochon, Milton, MA Sun Jan 13, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


Again, the permitting process depends on the work that was needed and done. If the work done did not require a permit and was done by a licensed/insured professional, there probably is not much need to to be worried. Be sure to include protective contingencies in your offer, hire a solid inspector and if you're not happy with the results, back out of the transaction.

If you need more assurance, hire a Realtor with a construction background and bring a general contractor with you to inspect. If you do not know one, ask your friends and family. Typically someone will know someone that would be happy to take a look. LAstly, research the person or company that did the work.

By no means, if you like the property, turn your back on it. Properties do not stay on the market long in Milton and you may miss out an an opportunity because you did not get the proper advice.

Best of luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 13, 2013
Well follow your gut.... if it isn't perfect maybe it isn't the right place for you... keep looking!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 22, 2013
Many owners do work without building permits to keep their taxes down. Typically it is finishing the basements, redoing the kitchens, baths and adding a deck. Is this a correct approach no, but it is done daily (and mortgages are given to them and there is no problem with the appraisal) That does not mean the work was done improperly and should not stop you in making an offer on the property, but you do want to protect yourself, which can be done very easily, with the wording below " subject to a formal inspection and approval of the premises by the buyer and or his agents on or before xxx date" "subject to a mutually acceptable purchase and sales agreeement"

If you truly like the home this will buy you the time and protection to address the issues that arise at the home inspection as well as your attorney can put in the clause regarding building permits.

As to permits - work done over 7 years ago is grandfathered in. (that does not mean that the work was done properly). You as others have stated would like to have the building dept sign off on the work in question.

What was the work done that you are referring to?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 14, 2013
Great answer!!
Flag Thu Mar 7, 2013
If you were to make an offer on this home I would suggest language that it is the responsibility of the seller to arrange to have the building inspector sign off on the work that was down. If they are unwilling to do so walk away.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 13, 2013
The big issue is the town could require the structure be torn down and re-built. I would not even think about purchasing a property that did not have proper permits in place. Talk to the building department and ask as a buyer what would have to happen for the property to be properly permitted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 13, 2013
Hi gagodrochon.

The main risk in buying a house without building permits on record is obviously the quality of the work and whether the work was done according to "code".

Richard Shapiro states below that you could have an issue getting a mortgage (if you need one).

It also depends on what permits you are talking about. If it is a permit for a deck or roof etc. then that should be easy enough for the seller to obtain as a condition of the sale.

If the house was built without permits, however, now there's a potiential for faulty wiring, structural problems and so much more.

If you like the house enough to make an offer, I would recommend you ask the seller to obtain permits as a condition of the sale. I would not recommend you inherit this issue as you could be asked to obtain the permits should YOU ever decide to sell.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 13, 2013
If you're a cash buyer, no issues other than the thought that things may have not been done to code. If you're are financing you may have an issue when an appraisal is done, if the appraiser and lender knows there have been renovations done. However, if there were no structural changes, new electrical or plumbing done, there would be no need for permits.

What work has been done? What property? I may have seen it.

Let me know if I can assist.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 13, 2013
You will have an issue getting the mortgage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 13, 2013
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer