In the past month, I have had two examples personally happen to me which outlines how important and necessary proper permitting is. I had two separate occurrences of delayed closings, one because of open permits and one because of no permits. It is important for anyone who is buying or selling a home to understand the components involved with permitting.
In the first example, I saw first hand how not pulling proper permits will delay a closing. A professional window installer didn’t pull the permits for the hurricane impact windows installed in the home. Doing so caused a delay in closing since the window wasn’t to code. Even licensed professionals can make mistakes and cause issues, so it is important to follow up and keep this in mind.
Another approaching closing had the opposite issue. Permits were open, however, after the roof of the home was installed…over 20 years ago…the permits were never closed! Now the owner is going to have to restart the process over a problem they weren’t even aware of.
Both caused delays in each closing.
When a permit is issued by the County or building department the open permit requires a formal finalization in accordance with city guidelines with a specific time provided. The final inspection ensures that the modification was done according to city code. The permit will remain open or even expire and this issue remains until the permit has been formally closed.
One thing that is important to keep in mind is that fact that open permits are attached to property, even when a change of ownership occurs. Failing to discover these outstanding permits means that the new owner has acquired this new responsibility and will now have to deal with fines, fee, and completing of the pending work. Attorneys and title companies may suggest that the closing should be delayed until the seller has resolved these issues.
It is important to have an open permit search completed. This request can be made by the title company and it is important that you ask for this to be done. Any buyer should order an Open Permit Search when scheduling the initial inspection. Handling these matters as early as possible will help to expedite the process, minimizing the chance of a delayed closing.