Agent

Home improvements could get sellers in trouble

No permits, unlicensed contractors raise red flags for buyers

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Dear Barry, What would be the consequences of improving our home without a building permit? The work to be done would include altered plumbing, new siding, new roofing, removing the electric water heater from the outside, installation of a propane water heater on the inside, repairing a sagging ceiling, replacing some windows, and adding an air-conditioning system. We're presently in disagreement as to whether permits are even required for this work and are wondering what we should disclose to buyers when the house is eventually sold. What do you advise? --Gaye Dear Gaye, Your list of proposed improvements and alterations is formidable, and, according to the building code, most would require permits. Conducting work of this kind without permits exposes you to legal and financial consequences of several kinds, and these could be magnified by allowing the work to be done by someone who is not a licensed contractor. If a qualified contractor were to perform the construction without a perm...