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Do your sellers know the pitfalls of unpermitted work?

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A worker hitting the corner of an exterior wall with a sledgehammer

10/07/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Have you ever had a seller suggest making improvements to the home on the cheap before listing? Maybe he wants to increase the sale price through an addition or make structural repairs but wants to avoid the cost of pulling permits from the local building department. In situations like this, the seller might be unaware of how unpermitted work can derail a sale or present other issues down the road.

If it’s a major change, such as a new bathroom or converted bedroom, it might set off red flags during an inspection, where the current state of the home would differ from previous descriptions. Additionally, the Seller’s Disclosure Notice requires the seller to mark if he is aware of work done without necessary permits. Not disclosing unpermitted work could result in a costly lawsuit.

Scaring off a buyer isn’t the only potential risk of unpermitted work: it could cause issues with financing, result in fines from local authorities (representing another possible lawsuit), disadvantage the seller when it comes time to negotiate, or put the next owner at risk if the work wasn’t done safely or to current building codes.

Let your sellers know that while painting or changing a light fixture are fine to tackle on their own, larger projects should be done with the correct permits and ideally by a bonded and insured professional.

Categories: Legal, Sellers
Tags: sellers, selling, legal

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Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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