According to the National Association of Realtors, Floridians purchased roughly 287,000 homes in 2022. In such a busy real estate market, prospective homebuyers may occasionally encounter properties with unpermitted additions. While these properties may offer unique features or extra space, they can also pose significant challenges and risks.
Buying a property with unpermitted additions can bring a multitude of questions about its legality and safety.
What does the state consider unpermitted additions?
Unpermitted additions refer to any construction or modifications made to a home without the necessary permits from the local building department. They can include anything from a new bathroom or bedroom to a remodeled kitchen or a deck. When you are in the process of buying a home in Florida, you should always ask about any modifications made and whether they had the necessary permits.
How can unpermitted additions affect the home buying process?
Buying a home with unpermitted work can cause some complications. Firstly, you might face challenges getting a mortgage because lenders might be reluctant to finance a property with unpermitted work. Secondly, insurance companies might not cover any damage caused by or to the unpermitted addition. Lastly, if local authorities discover the unpermitted work, they could give you penalties, fines or force you to remove the addition.
What can you do if you find unpermitted additions?
If you discover a property has unpermitted additions, you have several options. One option is to ask the seller to obtain retroactive permits. The seller would need to apply for permits for the addition and have it inspected by the local building department. Another option is to negotiate a lower price on the property to compensate for the risk you are assuming. In some cases, you might decide to walk away from the purchase entirely if the risk is too high.
By asking the right questions and considering your options carefully, you can make an informed decision and ensure your new home is a sound investment.