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Much more time spent at home has led many homeowners to realize that they want to make some improvements to their home so that it works better for their daily life. Many times homeowners will opt to do the work themselves to save on the cost of labor, but a common mistake that well-meaning homeowners make is not permitting their project.

Before beginning any project you want to make sure that the local zoning laws in your area do not require the work you plan to do to be permitted before making improvements. Permitting laws vary from location to location and it is very important to check in with the specific zoning committee for your particular property.

There could be some very unpleasant consequences if it is discovered that work has been done on your home without the proper permits in place.

Here are some of the most common consequences of remodeling without a permit.

If you try to sell your home buyers have the right to back out of the contract

When going through the due diligence phase of closing on a home sale if it is discovered by a professional inspection that work has been done and it’s either not up to code or not permitted the buyer has the right to back out of the offer they made on your home.

Unpermitted work discovered on a home for sale means the buyer needs to request that the homeowner do the work to get the proper permits in place which can take a lot of time, or that they themselves will need to do this work if they are not going to negotiate this with the homeowner. This can mean extra money and extra time for the home sale.

You could be asked to tear out the updates

Depending on the area in which you live the permitting rules could be very strict. In some areas, the consequence of discovering any unpermitted project is to require that the work be torn down. This is an extreme step that has been requested when owners have done their own highly skilled work without professional help or the proper permitting in place. This is usually a result of items like electrical and plumbing work or any changes to the structural integrity of the home.

If HomeOwners insurance discovers unpermitted work they may not cover any damage

Insurance companies do not want to take the risk of providing coverage to a home that is not safe and has not gone through the proper safety checks for work performed. Covering a home that is not built safely and up to code and properly checked is a huge risk and has a higher chance of requiring a huge payout in a disaster. This is not a smart move for an insurance company to cover a high-risk structure.

Related: Investing Wisely: Backyard Renovations & Upgrade

You could face fines

If local authorities discover that you worked around the permitting process to conduct projects on your home you could face hundreds of dollars in fines. It is better to pay for the permit upfront and deal with the unfortunate extra time it takes to get a permit than to pay more on the back end when it is discovered your work was not permitted.

You could be liable for damage if you sell the home

If you do work yourself to improve your home and then end up selling it later when the work was not permitted you could be responsible should something happen as a result of the unpermitted work that was conducted?

Should a fire start because of unprofessional wiring or structural damage occur because a load-bearing wall was removed the person who purchased the home might be able to file a lawsuit against you to collect for the money needed to fix the damages.

Permits might seem annoying and pesky and sometimes feel like just another way for the government to collect money, but they are also necessary to ensure that work is being conducted safely. They may feel annoying but they are a way to protect both you and anyone else who does work on the home in many circumstances.

For more information on buying or selling a home in San Tan Valley please contact me anytime.

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