“Separate from what your municipality requires, the standard sales contract you use in your state might require the seller to provide a certificate of completion for any work done on the house. Of course, the parties are free to replace the provision with an “as-is” clause, which would allow the sale to go through whether unpermitted work had been identified or not. But that’s a negotiating matter between the buyer and seller.”
Sellers should consider going to their local building department to see what work requires a permit. Rules and regulation differs upon location. Not only major renovations require permits, also small works like changing a toilet or adding an electrical outlet. If the work was done before their ownership that should have been permitted, the information regarding permits and certificate of completion should have been recorded with the city.
If sellers find out that there’s an unpermitted work, “their best course of action is to make an appointment with a city building inspector, apply for new permits, and, if needed, have the work brought up to the latest code and a certificate of completion issued. One downside: Today’s generally tougher code requirements may make it more costly and cumbersome to have the project pass inspection. It’s always a better idea for home owners to get the proper approvals from a municipality at the time the work is done than to wait until they sell the house years later.”