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What Happens When My Hawaii Home has Unpermitted Improvements?

There are hundreds of questions to ask as a homebuyer in the market for a beautiful property. As you come upon a particularly stunning property, a specific concern might arise. Is the home properly permitted? There are some homeowners who don’t go through the proper channels of obtaining building permits during property renovations. If you purchase the home, this financial liability falls into your lap. Take a look at the issues that arise if a home has unpermitted improvements.

1. Quality Workmanship Diminishes

The purpose of a permit is to ensure that every construction project adheres to a set of rules. Additions are properly wired and supported by the structure below, for example. When you find a home without a permitted improvement, that renovation may not be a high-quality addition. In fact, it might violate local building codes. It can be unsafe from a structural perspective.

As a homebuyer, you have no way of confirming certain details about the improvement. If you purchase the home anyway, material defects or decline will cost you in the end.

2. Fines From the City

When a property passes from one owner to the next, it goes through inspection processes. Unpermitted improvements will trigger fines for the homeowner. They may pay the fines, but you would be liable for new permitting and reconstructing the improvement if you purchase the property.

Ideally, the improvements must be inspected, adjusted for code and permitted before you make an offer on the property. There are too many unknown factors to take on an unpermitted property on your own.

3. Appraisal Woes

You want a good deal as a homebuyer. A home selling at a below-market price is financially attractive. An unpermitted home will probably have a low price because any additions cannot be counted in the square footage. You have a large property for a cheap price. Keep in mind, however, that this appraisal becomes your problem once you buy the home. Unless you rectify the situation with a permitted improvement, your new home will retain that low appraisal.

Real estate is designed to be an investment, so avoiding any low-price homes should be the norm. The property repairs will cost you more in the end.

4. Selling Problems

A real-estate agent can only list the home with its official square-footage value that’s registered with the city or county. If a home has an unpermitted addition, that extra space cannot be advertised. When you visit this home as a buyer, the larger size is a shock. A home that was advertised as 1,000 square feet may now be a huge, 1,800 square feet.

You may start wondering about the rest of the property too. Are there other surprises in the rooms? Most homebuyers want a straightforward sale, which means that you may leave this property before even completing a walk-through process.

Thorough research and inspections can help you find a Hawaii home with every permit included. Be patient with your search, and the right property will come around. Quality homes will last for generations with the proper care!