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Old 04-28-2021, 02:48 PM
 
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Our house in Hastings-on-Hudson has a basement that's finished without a permit. We might sell the house in near future.

Options are:

1. sell it as is, probably shrink the buyers' pool a bit, because the house will be listed w/o the basement footage, but still somewhat priced in the footage/improvement (not fully pricing in, because it doesn't have a permit), attracting fewer buyers in the first glance. Also, some buyers simply wouldn't want to buy a house with a basement without a permit. However, there is a slight upside that property tax will be lower and obviously no one buyer wants to pay higher tax.

2. get a permit in arrear. I want to hear from someone with experience in our town/county what they went through. Did you get a penalty? Did they charge you back tax? Did you have to rip the wall/ceiling to show them plumbing and electrical work? How much did it cost you when all said and done? Is the cost/hassle enough to outweigh the disadvantage of option 1.?

TIA.
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Old 04-29-2021, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
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You should consider hiring a private home inspector to assess it. They can give you a range of what it would cost to remediate, and then you can decide whether it's worth doing. There are advantages, as you note, of leaving it alone. But if some of the remediation is really important (e.g., electrical), that would kill off any advantage.
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Old 04-29-2021, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,597 posts, read 2,882,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegetable View Post
Our house in Hastings-on-Hudson has a basement that's finished without a permit. We might sell the house in near future.

Options are:

1. sell it as is, probably shrink the buyers' pool a bit, because the house will be listed w/o the basement footage, but still somewhat priced in the footage/improvement (not fully pricing in, because it doesn't have a permit), attracting fewer buyers in the first glance. Also, some buyers simply wouldn't want to buy a house with a basement without a permit. However, there is a slight upside that property tax will be lower and obviously no one buyer wants to pay higher tax.

2. get a permit in arrear. I want to hear from someone with experience in our town/county what they went through. Did you get a penalty? Did they charge you back tax? Did you have to rip the wall/ceiling to show them plumbing and electrical work? How much did it cost you when all said and done? Is the cost/hassle enough to outweigh the disadvantage of option 1.?

TIA.
At least when we sold our home 11 years ago in the City of Peekskill. We had to have the city inspect our home to see if any work was done without a building permit before we could sell our home. We also had a finished basement. Fortunately for us our home was originally built with one. According to the building inspector any work that was done without a permit would have to be brought up to code and the owner would have to get a building permit and have the work done. Or return the home to its original state before the work was done. After the work is done they will come back to inspect it. If everything is up to code they'll issue you a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) and close the permit.

If you have a finished basement that was done without a permit more than likely you will also need to get both an electrical and plumbing inspection as well. Our home was the only home in our neighborhood that originally came with a finished basement according to the building inspector who had the original spec's that were filed with the city at the time our home was built. The only issue we had was for our above ground pool of which we had a building permit for. We forgot to file for a CO after the pool was set up. All we had to do was pay the $25 fee to close the permit and we were good to go.

Our neighbor sold their home right around the same time that we sold ours. He extended his back porch without getting a building permit. They made him tear the entire structure down and build a new one that was up to code.

Unfortunately selling a home is not like selling a car. There will be other parties involved not just the buyer and seller. I guess the bottom line in all of this is to make sure you call your city's building inspector to find out if you need a permit before doing any work other than routine maintenance to your home if you plan on selling it in the future. If you need one get the permit, it will save you a lot of headaches if and when you decide to sell.

There's no law that says you can't do the work yourself, as long as it meets code you'll be good to go.

Last edited by Ex New Yorker; 04-29-2021 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 04-29-2021, 01:08 PM
 
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I always wondered this myself. I never heard of the town making you get an inspection when you go to sell - I didn't think that was allowed. But I have heard many stories of the buyers finding out there is unpermitted work, and then the seller having to have it reversed or redone.


But what I wasn't sure of was if that was a requirement to do by law, or just something the seller normally does to complete the sale. Now is an extremely hot seller's market. I hear stories all the time of people putting down crazy amounts of cash to buy houses in the area, sometimes without even seeing them first. What happens if the buyer find there is unpermitted work - can the seller just refuse to address it since there is probably a line of buyers waiting, and there is a good likelihood one will buy the house despite this?
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Arizona
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Originally Posted by hominamad View Post
I always wondered this myself. I never heard of the town making you get an inspection when you go to sell - I didn't think that was allowed. But I have heard many stories of the buyers finding out there is unpermitted work, and then the seller having to have it reversed or redone.


But what I wasn't sure of was if that was a requirement to do by law, or just something the seller normally does to complete the sale. Now is an extremely hot seller's market. I hear stories all the time of people putting down crazy amounts of cash to buy houses in the area, sometimes without even seeing them first. What happens if the buyer find there is unpermitted work - can the seller just refuse to address it since there is probably a line of buyers waiting, and there is a good likelihood one will buy the house despite this?
Before we sold our home I called code enforcement to find out if we needed a building inspection before selling our home.

I don't know if it's the same in every town or city? But that's what we had to do along with our neighbor. I'm no lawyer but there's probably liability issues involved for both the buyer, seller and the city itself. Especially if someone got injured or killed due to shoddy workmanship that was not up to code and the work was done without getting a building permit.

As far as the building codes go and if you've never done anything to the home that would require a building permit. They can't make you bring the home up to the present day building codes when you go to sell. Especially if you have an older home such as we had. For example: They can't make you upgrade your electrical system from a fuse box to circuit breakers if the home originally had a fuse box and today's building code requires circuit breakers. Same for plumbing, structural work, porches and decks. The home has to be just as it was originally built and met the building codes of the day and year of which it was built. The only way they can do that is if you're having renovations done that require a building permit.

Quote:
Building / Code Enforcement | Peekskill NY
https://www.cityofpeekskill.com/buil...de-enforcement
The Building Department has 1 Building Inspector, 2 Assistant Building Inspectors, 1 Fire Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer, 1 Code Enforcement Officer, 1 Plumbing Inspector, and 1 Office Assistant.The Department issues permits pertaining to Buildings, Driveways, Fences, Signs, etc. (other permits which can be viewed and down loaded from this website).

Why is a Permit Required? Here’s why:

The Building Department protects you from inferior construction.

The end result of construction or alteration work without a permit is the creation of fire and health hazards, and a general downgrade of structures and property in the Village.

Last edited by Ex New Yorker; 04-29-2021 at 09:00 PM..
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Old 05-01-2021, 08:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hominamad View Post
But what I wasn't sure of was if that was a requirement to do by law, or just something the seller normally does to complete the sale. Now is an extremely hot seller's market. I hear stories all the time of people putting down crazy amounts of cash to buy houses in the area, sometimes without even seeing them first. What happens if the buyer find there is unpermitted work - can the seller just refuse to address it since there is probably a line of buyers waiting, and there is a good likelihood one will buy the house despite this?
A buyer would have to pay cash. A bank will not allow a mortgage on a house without a current CO.

When we refinanced a half dozen years ago, we needed a permit for a small shed and a new deck before approval.
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Old 05-01-2021, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Arizona
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Originally Posted by YorktownGal View Post
A buyer would have to pay cash. A bank will not allow a mortgage on a house without a current CO.

When we refinanced a half dozen years ago, we needed a permit for a small shed and a new deck before approval.
That's for sure. Not only that but why would anyone in their right mind want to buy a home without a CO even if they had the cash? There could be God only knows how many problems in the future.
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Old 05-01-2021, 10:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ex New Yorker View Post
That's for sure. Not only that but why would anyone in their right mind want to buy a home without a CO even if they had the cash? There could be God only knows how many problems in the future.
If a house had a CO originally, would it not have a CO now because it has done improvement w/o a permit?
I had certainly seen a house listed with a non-permited finished basement, the basement finished space can't be on the listing, but I wasn't aware that it would have an impact on getting a loan? Liability could be an issue yes because insurance wouldn't include the finished basement so if something happened because of the basement there could be potential claim trouble. But again as I understand if the buyer is willing to accept this I don't think technically it would be a show stopper for the sale?
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:09 PM
 
1,071 posts, read 1,079,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegetable View Post
If a house had a CO originally, would it not have a CO now because it has done improvement w/o a permit?
I had certainly seen a house listed with a non-permited finished basement, the basement finished space can't be on the listing, but I wasn't aware that it would have an impact on getting a loan? Liability could be an issue yes because insurance wouldn't include the finished basement so if something happened because of the basement there could be potential claim trouble. But again as I understand if the buyer is willing to accept this I don't think technically it would be a show stopper for the sale?
In my experience it is usually based on the title company's report. If the title company issues a policy the bank will likely be fine. I suppose a bank can inspect themselves, but I have never seen that. But if the title report indicates there is a finished basement and no CO, the bank will balk. Sheds, decks and other outside alterations are far easier to catch on a title report. Inside sometimes can fly by if the title company just uses an old report and does not look at the listing for square footage and want to see inside. Also, a good attorney or buyer's agent might catch it. It is illegal to sell a residential building that does not have a CO for all living space. But that said, "unfinishing" a basement is simple. Of course you cannot include the square footage in living space, but you can put in the description that footage and call it beautiful and multi-use basement space. I would use creating listing to make it sound clear what it is, but not include it in the listing as residential space. Good luck to the OP in your sale of the home.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,597 posts, read 2,882,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegetable View Post
If a house had a CO originally, would it not have a CO now because it has done improvement w/o a permit?
I had certainly seen a house listed with a non-permited finished basement, the basement finished space can't be on the listing, but I wasn't aware that it would have an impact on getting a loan? Liability could be an issue yes because insurance wouldn't include the finished basement so if something happened because of the basement there could be potential claim trouble. But again as I understand if the buyer is willing to accept this I don't think technically it would be a show stopper for the sale?
After the house was built it would have a CO. If any additional work was done without a permit it would not have a CO for the work that was done.

I think that you should contact your town's building department/code enforcement to find out what direction you should go in before you sell your home. It will save you a lot of trouble later on. Who knows it might not be an issue as each town/city might have different rules and regulations. They may come and inspect your home and if the finished basement meets code maybe they will issue you a permit and a CO? I really don't know.

All that I can tell you is what our experience was while selling our home. We didn't have any issues except paying a $25 fee to get a CO for our above ground pool of which we had a permit for. I also know that my neighbor had to tear down their deck and then apply for a permit, build a new deck that was up to code and get a CO before they could sell their home.
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