Buying a Home with Unpermitted Work




A Sticky Situation

You have just made a purchase of a home only to find that there was unpermitted work done on the structure. Yikes! Now, the city has sent a government official to take a look at it. You feel as though you are on the verge of a really messy situation.

The biggest piece of advice we can give you in this situation is to get together with a design team and let them help you. They can give you the information and support that you will need. In the Seattle area and King County, the city will probably give you an ABC (Already Built Construction) permit. Those can be hard to work with, but employing a designer or an architect, and a good real estate agent is key. With a team, you will have the peace of mind to know it’s being taken care of.

The team will negotiate with the government to get you the necessary permits and permission you need to have the space approved. The best possible way to avoid this situation is to discover these things early! If you do find them, it will be easier to negotiate with the seller. You can check the county property records to see if any obvious changes have been made without a permit. You also want to look over the seller disclosure for anything that doesn’t look quite right.

Make it Positive

We actually just recently had a home that was purchased with unapproved renovations. But we were able to help them turn a bad situation into a good one. We did some design work and left them happy that the work had been permitted, relieved that they were all squared away with the city, and excited about the new renovations on their space.

This is an extremely scary situation but we hope these tips help. Try to find these problems up front, but if you miss something it’s okay. Just make sure you get help from someone who has experience dealing with government permits.

This is the final post we have written in a three-part series on the permitting process if you would like to view the other two articles they are posted in our blog section.




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