Contigency for garage addition

Asked by Robert, Waukesha, WI Thu Jun 12, 2008

Is it possible to make an offer on a property with a contingency requiring the seller to get a written approval from the City for the addition of a garage? Currently looking at a property without garage. Seller says it can be built, but buyer must get approval from the City. City won't give approval without a survey.

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Robert, Home Buyer, Waukesha, WI
Fri Jun 13, 2008
Thank you for all the responses.
I talked to my agent, and she took me through the Waukesha County website and the arial view of the lots. We found the lot for the property and there seems to be enough space to build a 2 car garage (also looked at aerial views from google and virtual earth). She said because the building permit must be requested by the owner who will actually build the garage, it's very unlikely the seller will provide such permit at this time.
I'm not sure how to work this into the offer, so that I don't get screwed afterwards by the City not approving the garage construction.
BTW, I don't want the seller to build the garage for me, I just want them to provide signed proof by the City that it can be built in the future.
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None, Agent, Summit, WI
Fri Jun 13, 2008
Hello Robert,

This is something that just happened to my associate recently. The seller of the property said he was sure that a garage could be built on the subdivided property he was selling. Since there are several things that have to happen to be able to close on properties that cost the buyer money, we had all contingencies such as inspections, testing and loan commitment begin on the day the seller got the blessing from the city. I would request that he be the one to get the survey since I am sure that there are a ton of buyers passing up this property due to the lack of a garage. It would behoove him to at least have that and a couple quotes on hand.

If you are requesting that the seller put up a garage at the seller's expense, be specific in what you are asking for unless you do not care too much about what he puts up. Do you want it to architecturally to match the home? 2x6 v. 2x4 construction? Concrete slab or is gravel OK?

Also - if the seller is doing this at his expense, expect him to negotiate from you a deposit that he would say is non-refundable once the city give the OK to build. You may not want to do it, but it is fair. Expect to pay a little closer to his price, too unless his price is WAY out of whack for the area.

As far as wording it in the offer goes, a good agent or RE attorney will be able to draft it for you.

Lastly, either you or your agent should be double-checking the facts with the municipality. "Oh, sure you can build on it" from the seller would not give me a good feeling. He and his agent should have had these facts at the ready. Some cities, like Brookfield, will only allow the construction of an attached garage, for instance. Obviously those tend to run significantly more.

Best of luck!
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Adam Kielpin…, Agent, Muskego, WI
Thu Jun 12, 2008
It is possible to make on offer on a property with a contingency requiring the seller to get a written approval from the City for the addition of a garage. This would be done in the "Additional Provisions/Contingencies" section of the WB-11 Residential Offer to Purchase. I would make sure your Buyer Agent is very specific in this section (i.e. what constitutes "approval" and how long the seller has to get this "approval"). Good luck!
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Cameron Piper, Agent, Forest Lake, MN
Thu Jun 12, 2008

You can condition an offer on just about anything. In this case it would be a reasonable request to have the seller provide you something in writing from the city ("seller says it is possible") stating that the garage is possible. However obtaining the actual permission may take too long and be too expensive for some sellers. In addition some municipalities grant permission to specific owners not to the property itself so unless the current went ahead and built the garage too, you would have to go through the hassle of resubmit the request. Have your agent contact the listing agent and ask what they have from the city and be sure to work that into the final acceptance of the offer. I hope that helps.

Cameron Piper
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