Building Violation Can Cause an Obstruction For Selling a Home

Do you know if you have a building violation?

Many homeowners do not realize that during lifetime of their residency there may be a time when a city inspector may walk into your home, and spot a child and no guards on your windows. You get a summons and have to spend money to place metal wire over your windows. 

May be your neighbor complained, or it was an accidental find, but existing violation, if not treated, may prevent you from selling a home. According to (hotlink deleted by Zillow moderator) most counties in U.S. support strict rules regarding local building code, and enforce severe penalties for violations that create hazards to life safety.

In states like New York, it was reported that code enforcement inspectors go undercover as home buyers and inspected property for items that may fit as a violation of the code.

One way to protect yourself against building violations is to regularly check your property for any complaints, as it will probably trigger an inspection within 14 business days. Be prepared to have your property inspected for life safety hazards, illegal enrichment, violation of zoning ordinances, and violations of the mechanical, electrical, and energy codes. Same inspector comes with tools to analyze your property and make a detailed report to the Building Department Code Enforcement Unit, which, in turn, will report to the City Clerk's office who may freeze your title, until the violation is resolved. 

You can however, hire your own(hotlink deleted by Zillow moderator; please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines) inspector and test your property for zoning violations, before it's done by the government. There are plenty of firms out there to choose from. You have to be proactive on this issue, if you are looking to sell your home.
  • December 23 2012 - US
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Answers (1)

Not to mention that "pre-sale inspections" performed by City Inspectors (not cheap either) are becoming more and more mandatory in our local markets.

On my last purchase the owner told me everything was to code (verbal), but since I was going to completely remodel the place anyway I didn't look into the matter.  So I performed the mandatory inspection after closing (not recommended for first time home buyers, ONLY seasoned investors can 'afford' to do this) and was slammed with over 50 violations!  Granted I was aware just with a visual of most of them...there were 3 that I didn't know and caused me a lot of stress...anyway, it all worked out in the end, but yes every buyer/seller should become aware of these sorts of scenarios because they are the "future" of all real estate transactions.

I think I ended up dropping like 2 grand on just permits...and another grand on the inspection(s).  It is insane.

Best wishes from So-Cal and good luck
  • December 23 2012
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