We purchased a home two years ago. We knew that there were additions to the home. My realtor told me this

Asked by Mindy, Phoenix, AZ Tue Jun 24, 2008

was all permitted and told me he would get me copies of the permits. When we were going over the disclosure form, it said that the previous owner had not gotten the permits to perform the work. I asked my realtor and he swore up and down that it was a mistake and that he would get me copies of the permits. He said the house was listed including that square footage of the addition and that there is no way that could be unless it was permitted. He advised me to sign the disclousure to move things along and he would get me the copies. Being 9 months pregnant, i gave birth in all of this and did not keep following up with him. Now we want to do some remodeling and were told by our contractor that none of it under permit. Can anyone help me? Is there anything I can do??

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Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Tue Jun 24, 2008
It seems that everyone has answered your question about getting proper permits and going ahead with the remodel.
I read another question in your post. What to do about an agent that you feel lied to you, put his interests ahead of your own and basically got you to buy a house with problems so that he could get paid.
You should contact an attorney and review all the paperwork. Tell them your perception and relate all the conversations you had with the agent. If everything happened the way you state, this agent should not be licensed.
Was the agent the listing agent also?
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Doug McVinua, Agent, Gilbert, AZ
Tue Jun 24, 2008
It may be possible to have the city issue permits. What has your contractor said about the work, does it look to meet code? The permits in most cities are more expensive after the fact and might require allowing the City Inspector access to walls and or attics etc. The obstacle is really the question of does it meet code? If the work does not meet code the city can require demolition? Yes, if the city is brought into this and were to find serious violations they might require the additions to be removed.

I went thru this with the City of Chandler a few months ago and ultimately led to my buyers decision to not buy the home because it had additions that were not permitted. Fortunately I had advised the buyer of all of this information before we even made an offer. Chandler had informed me that they could require removal if the additions were not up to code. Hindsight is always 20/20 and here you sit in a difficult decision. Good luck!!
Web Reference:  http://www.McVinua.com
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Carlos Ramir…, Agent, Mesa, AZ
Tue Jun 24, 2008
The information provided below is what I would do. Come clean with the city and try to get a permit for it. Hopefully it will be up to code, or easy to get to it. Be aware that the city might ask you to remove the addition if it can not be put up to code. If the expenses and potential losses are significant, and the sellers intentionally lied about it, then you can go after them for damages.

If the addition had a permit, the additional square footage should be reflected on the assessor’s page. Although I have seen a few cases where the addition has a permit and it is not reflected on the assessor’s page.

Good luck and I’m sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience.
Web Reference:  http://smartazrealty.com/
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Todd Lee, Agent, Phoenix, AZ
Tue Jun 24, 2008
You will need to contact the county recorder's office to see what kind of permits were actually pulled when the work was done (if any). From there, they may send out an assessor to inspect the work that was done and make sure it was all done to code. If not they may require you to either return the property to the former state or repair it and bring it to code. You can also expect that at that time they will re-evaluate your home for tax purposes. Depending upon the sq/ft at that time your taxes may increase.

I hate to say it but I think your agent may have dropped the ball on this one. He should never have advised you to sign the disclosures and get the docs later. Those matters, if deemed important should ALWAYS be verified during the inspection period. You may want to talk to your agent's broker to see what they can do to help you. If they refuse to help you then you can file a complaint with the Board of REALTORS against them. Agents should never advise their clients to sign docs just to move the process along unless they themselves are willing to be held personally responsible for the outcome. I have included a link below to the maricopa county web site. From there you can look up the recorded docs and see what is on file.
Web Reference:  http://www.maricopa.gov
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Bob Garwood, Agent, Glendale, AZ
Tue Jun 24, 2008
Yes there are two steps that you should take. First of all I agree with the suggestion given to you by Gary. It is important to find out what status your home is currently in regarding the permitting process and to make sure that the work would pass. Secondly, I suggest that you have a discussion with the broker of record for the company that your agent worked for at the time of your transaction and ask for assistance on their part. They may indeed be able to assist you with contact information of the people who did the work. If the contractor was licensed and bonded, you may have some leverage there and you should be able to get some extra assistance from that broker since they are at risk for additional liability as well. Most brokers will do everything that they can do to help when something like this happens.
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Holly Grigai…, Agent, Cottonwood, AZ
Tue Jun 24, 2008
In Yavapai County, the assesors office and the planning and zoning office are independent. The assessors office does field study on properties and assess what they see on site. Therefore, unpermitted structures are measured and eventually taxed (hey, if its is there, they can and will tax it!) , and that unpermitted square footage WILL eventually show up in the county records. Gary has good advice, but also ask your contractor what he thinks of the construction and whether or not applying for a permit after the fact will open a can of worms. Consulting an attorney on how to proceed isn't a bad idea either, and one who is familiar with your local government. Some municipalities have required unpermitted structures to be torn down.....so you may not want to make waves until you know exactly what your position is, in the community you are living in. Good Luck, and please stop back and give us an update.....
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Gary Miljour, , Chandler, AZ
Tue Jun 24, 2008
Yes, most cities will let you get a permit after the fact. You will want to explain this situation to the city about how it was purchased and how information was not given to you properly. The city will send an inspector out to look at the work. If it does not pass inspection, they will require things fixed to code. Then they will issue you permit. If the additions were not build to code then you might have some serious problems.
Web Reference:  http://www.garymiljour.com
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