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Visitor
sd_kicks
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-22-2013
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Buying a Flip without Permits?

Hi - I am looking at entering escrow on a home that was flipped. The tax records state the house is 2 bedroom/1 bath. I believe the previous owner (before the flipper) added a 2nd unpermitted bathroom at some point. The flipper came in and redid much of the wiring, put in a new electrical service box, redid the bathrooms and put copper pipes/ABS waste lines throughout, and redid the kitchen.

 

When we submitted our final counter they disclosed that the 2nd bathroom is unpermitted. I pulled permits on the home through the city (SD) and no permits have been filed since the electronic cutoff date of 1990. So it seems NONE of this work was permited. But they have not disclosed that to us...is that allowed?

 

Supposedly the flipper is a contractor so "everything is up to code" but without permits we do not know that. I know SD county is known for lots of unpermitted work but often I see in forums people saying "I know I did it up to code so it is safe" but we don't know that.

 

There are multiple isses here and I know many people would say run away now, but this house is in a great great location so we are going to see what we can learn during escrow.

 

(1) Issue 1 - Safety: How much would it cost to get someone to come make sure everything is up to code? The house has a crawl space so the plumbing should be able to be inspected decently well. I am most concerned about electrical because wouldn't we need to open the walls?

 

(2) Issue 2 - Permits: What if we want to be good homeowners and permit these fixes and the 2nd bathroom? If we disclose this to the city are they going to try to milk us for all we have, or will we be "good samaritans" for trying to do the right thing?

 

(3) Issue 3 - Insurance: Is this an issue with coverage. I see some posts about companies trying to not cover things due to lack of permits but there are SO MANY unpermitted structures/remodels in SD that it seems like they dont really pay attention?

 

Thanks.

Contributor
Phat8594
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎02-22-2013
0

Re: Buying a Flip without Permits?

As you have said, buying a house with an unpermitted addition has its risks.

 

Something to keep in mind is that even if the addition was 'up to code' originally, it may no longer be up to code.  The building code constantly changes. 

 

You are probably best talking to a reputable licensed contractor who could tell you more about the costs, risks, etc.

Regular Visitor
Capstone_HI
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎08-08-2012
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Re: Buying a Flip without Permits?

[ Edited ]

I have a great contact who is professional and reliable who specializes in getting permits after the fact!

I would be glad to pass his contact information to you .

jg

 

Edited for soliciting

Contributor
PadreFan
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎11-15-2012

Re: Buying a Flip without Permits?

Due your due diligence. Hire your own inspector to look at the property before buying. I am gusessing it will cost $300-$500 do make sure everything is to code and there are no hidden issues. This is a pretty small amount to pay to make sure your $500K plus  investments is worth it and not a complete lemon. I have a construction backgournd and have seen some of these so called flips and the level quality ranges from well done to Attrocious and neglegent. I would also reserach the contractor who did the flip.

Contributor
Phat8594
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎02-22-2013
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Re: Buying a Flip without Permits?


PadreFan wrote:

Due your due diligence. Hire your own inspector to look at the property before buying. I am gusessing it will cost $300-$500 do make sure everything is to code and there are no hidden issues. This is a pretty small amount to pay to make sure your $500K plus  investments is worth it and not a complete lemon. I have a construction backgournd and have seen some of these so called flips and the level quality ranges from well done to Attrocious and neglegent. I would also reserach the contractor who did the flip.


I agree 100% with PadreFan.  Be savvy and do your due diligence.

Contributor
rosecityrain
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎04-25-2013
0

Re: Buying a Flip without Permits?

Why not have the permit people do an inspection?  This should cost you very little, if anything.

 

Then you know for certain.

Platinum Super Contributor
Nanomug
Posts: 10,441
Registered: ‎05-30-2009
0

Re: Buying a Flip without Permits?

Just because the tax records are different does not mean that all items were done without permits.  The local building department can provide a list of permits pulled on the home and their status.

 

I've had personal experience where things were not updated with the conty recorder.  We added a room 20 years ago fully permitted and paid taxes on on it.  It still doesn't reflect the addition in the square footage.

 

The contractor flipper should know better.  You can write in the offer that they get the permits on specific items before closing.  The wiring bothers me.  Even the best electricians make mistakes.  The permit process includes inspections to make sure that mistakes were not made.  It's normal for the inspector to find problems that get corrected.  Building code can vary slightly between municipalities.