Be sure to inspect building permits

Renovations may lack proper sign-off

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DEAR BARRY: We bought our home about four months ago and now have a big, undisclosed problem. The house is very old and was completely renovated — not by the person who sold us the property, but two owners previous to them. Our Realtor advised us to check for permits at the city hall, which we did. The city showed us copies of permits for the electrical, plumbing and mechanical work. But we did not notice the absence of signatures on the permit records. We didn’t know that people could apply for permits and never call for inspections.