Home Buying in Artesia>Question Details

Wanderingjew, Home Buyer in California

what is the consiquence of buying a house that has been remodeled with some add ons w/o permit - extra 2 bathroom?

Asked by Wanderingjew, California Sun Jun 19, 2011

what should we look out if a house we are interested to buy was built in1908.,how long will the house lasts,ive heard that older house are built with sturdier material than newer ones ? how true?

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In my opinion, homeowners who do additions without permits, DON"T have the money to be adding on in the first place. If they did, they would do it properly by getting permits on the 1st go around, having permits ensure that the work is done properly.

This brings into question, other parts of the home that may have been fixed or altered without the use of a professional contractor.

Please also get a thorough home inspection by a REPUTABLE company or person. It's not always necessary for unpermitted areas to be completely torn down. I had a listing last year where there was an unpermitted bathroom, the owner didn't need to tear it out. The city inspector came out to check it out & when it was noted that there needed to be another vent, we had a professional contractor come out to install a new one & then we were able to get it permitted properly.

Go to New England, there are TONS of homes over there built in the 1800's that are still standing, beautiful & occupied. An older home is fine so long as it's being taken care of.

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1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 19, 2011
Looking at this from a lenders stand point, here are some thoughts for you.

Additions without permits will not be calculated into the value of the home.

Should you be paying cash, this will only be an issue when you go to sell the home..

If you are looking at financing this home, the appraised value will be effected, as the extra bathroom, not permitted, will be give no value. No permit. No value. Thus effecting your overall loan to value and the amount the lender finance on the property.

As for durability of the property, it is always advised to obtain a property inspection through a licensed contractor.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 19, 2011
I have to digress a moment on Joe's comment about 1908 foundations. We have been specializing in upgrading foundations on site built and factory built housing for almost three decades. To augment somewhat on Joe's statement I'll never forget a home built in exactly 1908 less than a football field from the ocean.

The perimeter wall was a continuous wall of 2 foot stacked riverbed rock around all four sides of this turn of the century bungalow. The rock as the legend went was transported from the channel that dumps into the ocean via donkey packing. The interior post and pier assemblies consisted of a 4x4 redwood posts mounted but not connected to a large (8 inch round) riverbed rock.

Talk about walking on marbles. This was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Thank goodness Ventura was offering a seismic grant program at the time. It was truly one of the most exciting projects we've ever worked on. Had to block and crib the home up over our head remove the existing cache of rocks and excavate a 2 foot by three foot footing and perimeter wall around the entire perimeter and set and bolt the home to the new foundation.

My have things ever changed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 21, 2011
New homes are built better, but with more composite materials. Older houses have more durable components, but weaker overall. A house built in 1908, as an example, will not have a stronger concrete foundation. Concrete deteriorates, foundation bolts (and better spacing) is common in newer houses, shear walls were mostly absent in older homes.

There is NEVER a good reason to add rooms without a permit. Really... if the work was done to code/industry standards, then where does the fear of inspections come from? Will your homeowner insurance cover a loss (water, fire, etc.) for unpermitted work? Will you be stuck with this home when it's time for you to sell?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 21, 2011
Have the home inspected and look into an "as built" permit. I'm not of the opinion that everyone who does add ons without a permit can't afford it. I've seen some very nice additions without a permit in the 25 years I've been in the construction, development and RE industry as a general contractor, developer and RE broker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 20, 2011
Shel-lee has answered this question very well. The value of the home is less without permits. If you still want to buy it, know that at any time a neighbor could complain you did work without permits, and even if you didn't do it you could be forced to remove it so the offer price should be adjusted accordingly
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 19, 2011
There are several consequences to buying a house with unpermitted additions. Two of them have already been addressed. I will repeat and expand on those, plus add another which may be the most important of the three.

1. The appraised value of the home will not include the unpermitted addition. More importantly, if the appraiser does not believe that the addtion was completed in a workmanlike manner, or poses health and safety issues, the appraised value of the home may be reduced by the cost of bringing the permitted area up to code or demolishing it. Be aware, if you are trying to get an FHA loan, this unpermitted area may prevent that.

2. The City may require that you retroactively permit the addition or remove it. Depending on the city and if they do an inspection. For example, the City of Carson requires that all non-permitted additions and modification be removed before the property can transfer hands. Check with the city of Artesia building department to see if they have similar requirements.

3. This one is very important and has to do with the home and insurance. If you end up purchasing the home and have an otherwise covered loss, your insurance company will not cover the loss if the cause of the loss started in the unpermitted area. For example, if your house burns down and it is determined that the fire started in the electrical wiring in the unpermitted section of the house, your insurance will not pay to rebuild your home. This is what I have been told by several insurance companies. You should check with your preferred insurance carrier and see if this holds true for their coverage.

Make sure to do your due diligence during your contingency period on these and all issue. Then you can make an informed decision on whether or not this is a good buy for you. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, QSC®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
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RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
424-2HELP12 (424-243-5712)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 19, 2011
your city or county can also either require you to pull the permit and have the work inspected or require it be torn out.
I would make sure the home inspector that I hired was a contractor with experience with older homes such as yours. Obviously, some older homes were built very well and have stood the test of time. Some newer ones fall apart fairly quickly. All depends on who built them and the materials used.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 19, 2011
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