Does your City require an inspection before you sell your home?

By
Real Estate Broker Owner with Safe Haven Realty CalBRE# 01433049

Does your City require an inspection before you sell your home?

Surprise!! Oh wait ... when you are selling your home surprises are the worst thing in the world. Imagine your home is on the market, you receive a purchase offer and accept it. Then the buyer's agent asks for the City inspection report for their review.

The what? What are you talking about? Well, some Cities require a mandatory re-sale (also known as point of sale) inspection prior to the sale of a home. One such City is Novato, California.

If done correctly, the seller or seller's agent fills out Novato's "Application for Residential Property Inspection and Report". The application and payment (currently $274 for a single family residence, $236 for a condo) must be received by the City before they will schedule an appointment, usually a week or so in the future.

Prior to the appointment, the code enforcement inspector who is assigned to your property will research any permits issued, permit status and/or code violations. They will also review any previous re-sale inspections for your property if there are any on file. (This program started in 1988).

The inspector is now armed with what your property should look like in terms of building materials, number of beds, number of baths, etc. Do you see where I'm going with this? If the seller has "improved" the property during their ownership and didn't obtain any necessary permits, the inspector will make note of that in their report.

So what happens if there is a violation? It depends. I've seen sellers get socked with a bill for the permit they should have obtained at 4 times the cost. Any improvements need to conform to today's building codes regardless of when the work was done. Some code violations require a re-inspection to make sure the violation is corrected.

Don't get caught by surprise, check with your City to find out if there are any re-sale requirements that you should know about. And before you modify your home, it's always a good idea to check whether permits are required.

 

Posted by

 

Cynthia Larsen
Broker/Owner - Safe Haven Realty

Sonoma County, California, USA
(707) 332-2560

www.cynthialarsen.com


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Topic:
Home Selling
Location:
California Marin County Novato
Groups:
BananaTude
Bartender, Make it a Double
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"Whacked"!!!
Tags:
resale inspection
point of sale requirements
selling your home
sonoma county

Comments 22 New Comment

Rainmaker
234,539
David Ames
San Francisco
Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco

Wow!  Cynthia, I can't imagine having a "City" inspection here in SF.  I'd bet more than half the housing stock would come under some kind of code violation (lol).   The City changes code more often than some folks change underwear (Ok, that would be gross, but you get the idea).  Then again, San Francisco could probably solve their budget deficit in two weeks by implementing such a scheme.  I know they made some bucks the past year citing "buckled" sidewalks all over town.  (Grrrr....)

June 29, 2011 03:18 PM
Rainmaker
525,554
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

David - buckled sidewalks? I'm sure there are millions of them still left over from the Loma Prieta earthquake! Shiver ...

June 29, 2011 03:50 PM
Rainmaker
205,085
Jeremy Wrenn
President, Wrenn Home Improvements
Wrenn Home Improvements

Cynthia, wow!  I guess that's one way to make sure the permits get pulled.

I wonder what happens if an estate inherits a house that had multiple non-permitted improvements.  Would they have to upgrade to all up to code and pay those fees just to sell?  Yipes!

June 29, 2011 09:03 PM
Rainmaker
525,554
Cynthia Larsen
Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
Safe Haven Realty

Jeremy - I'm not sure, but if the improvements were done a long time ago by a DIY'er there could be some issues, huh?

June 29, 2011 09:39 PM
Rainmaker
205,085
Jeremy Wrenn
President, Wrenn Home Improvements
Wrenn Home Improvements

Yeah, that was instantly where my mind went to.  I'm always thinking about worst case scenarios when it comes to law.  Hopefully they'd have some grace in that situation!

I always tell my clients, it's better to ask the city if you need a permit, than to find out later you did need one!

June 29, 2011 09:47 PM
Rainmaker
525,554

Cynthia Larsen

Sonoma County Real Estate Broker
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