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Converted garage may be a risky real estate purchase

Not all construction permitted by local jurisdiction

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Dear Barry, I've been renting a home for four years and would like to purchase it from the landlords. The building was originally a garage and was converted to a dwelling before permits were required. Recently, the owners added a foundation to an unpermitted addition and did not obtain a permit for the work. I expressed concern, but the work just proceeded. Should I go ahead with the purchase and deal with the county if problems arise later? What do you recommend? – Kathy Dear Kathy, Purchasing and owning an unpermitted dwelling might proceed without mishap, or unforeseen risks could manifest any number of difficulties. The worst case, of course, would be that the county could disallow the conversion and require restoration of the original garage. This is not a likely outcome, since permits were not required at the time of the conversion, but it is a possibility to be considered; one that has occurred in some areas, particularly where the work pertaining to the conversion was ...