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.