Q: I am under contract to purchase a home. The seller disclosure form notes they finished the basement in 2019, but no
mention of a permit. I looked for one with the city and county, but I am unable to find one. A home inspection found the basement outlets polarities reversed, so I assume the basement was finished DIY. What are the future implications of purchasing a home with a finished basement sans permit?
A: That is hard to say. Your insurance may cover any issues, or they may have left it out of your insurance agreement. When you buy the home, it's hard to pursue the prior owner for less than professional work, as you did have the opportunity to inspect. The city or county where the home lies may have issues at some point down the road if the DIY work were brought to their attention and it wasn't easily fixed. I doubt this happens very often, as many people finish their own basements and I have not yet heard of the city or county pursuing them for violations. This is not a situation where you will know with certainty what will happen, though chances are high that as long as the DIY doesn't start a fire or cause some similar major issue, it will never come up on the radar for permits.
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