Agents: leave building codes to experts

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DEAR BARRY: Our son just made an offer on a home. The sellers and their agent say the house was "built to code," but they won't say whether the addition was built with a permit. Our son's home inspector reported that the addition is not secured to the foundation. How would you assess this situation? --Tim DEAR TIM: Your son should proceed with caution. He does not appear to be dealing with trustworthy people. The home inspector's findings bear this out, but even before the home inspection, red flags were waving. How can a real estate agent declare that a home is "built to code"? To make that kind of judgment with any degree of authority, the agent would need extensive knowledge of several volumes of building standards and codes. The agent would also have to inspect the framing, plumbing, electrical wiring, mechanical systems and numerous other aspects of the construction, not merely on the surface, but within areas of the building that are not accessible ...