Unpermitted home addition a ‘good cause for concern’

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Dear Barry, The home I'm buying has been altered and enlarged, and the sellers disclosed that all work was done without permits. My agent assures me that many houses in the area have the same problem and that I should not be concerned. But this advice worries me. Does unpermitted work pose a problem? If so, what's the solution? – Bill Dear Bill, You have good cause for concern, and so does your agent. Advising a client to overlook unpermitted construction is a shortcut to legal and financial calamity. No competent agent would offer such risky advice. Unpermitted additions and alterations are bound to include building violations of one kind or another. The fact that permits are lacking is not only a "red flag," it is an undefined generality. What you need are the specifics. Are we discussing minor building violations, requiring routine upgrades and repairs, or are there major defects, involving faulty foundations, unsafe electrical wiring, fire hazards, or who knows what? You ...