Looking to sell your home in Calgary, what you should know about homes without permits

Posted by Real Estate Partners REPYYC on Sunday, July 8th, 2018 at 4:49pm

It's time to sell your home, you've done some major renovations and your house has work done that doesn't have a permit. Can this affect your value, what's the purpose of permits, and what should you do now that you're ready to sell, are there remedies to address this?


Lets start off with addressing the biggest question, are permits important? 

The short answer is that YES permits are very important, they protect buyers, sellers, and occupants from living in places with potentially unsafe conditions. Permits are setup and designed to ensure that any construction or renovation work done on your home is done in a safe (to code) manner. When permits aren't present, and work isn't checked, you could run into changes of a home that could have serious flaws, from structural to electrical, the potential for leaks, fire, mold etc. This can lead to unsafe living conditions for new buyers, current occupants, renters, and when it's time to sell having unpermitted work can reduce the value of your Calgary home.

What types of permits are there? 

Generally speaking, in residential you'll usually deal with two types of permits, those are building permits which cover and address any structural changes, or changes to gas, plumbing, or major electrical work. You can also deal with development permits, which covers the erection and construction of new buildings, retaining walls that are over 1.2 meters in height, swimming pools and hot tubs, demolitions, relocations. 

Why are permits not obtained, and when is this usually discovered? 

Quite simply, we often hear from home owners that permits cost money, and can be time consuming as the biggest reasons they're not obtained, sometimes it comes down to simply not knowing they're needed as well for certain types of work. The reason permits cost money is because they require government oversight during and after the construction, you'll have inspectors come out to review work at various phases throughout your project. With bigger renovations and jobs, homeowners will skip permits to save on the already high costs they've incurred. 

Often it's when a home owner decides to do work on a home that has had work done without permits, that they encounter issues, this is because their home is then seen as not being to code or potentially unsafe. 

What are the remedies for work done without a permit in calgary? 

So you're thinking about selling your home without permits, you really only have a few options at this point. The first is getting a retroactive permit, these are often a lot more expensive than your typical permit, and if the work cannot be seen or isn't to code, a contractor could be required to come in and fix or remedy the work, which could then turn into further permits required for additional work costing you more money. 

The second option is to sell the home without a permit, which can be just as costly. A buyer with this knowledge can leverage the lack of permits in comparison to other properties that are similar to yours, and negotiate against you. This can lead to your home sitting on the market longer, as well as cut into your profits. 

Should I care about permits in new communities like auburn bay in calgary? 

In a community like Auburn Bay, which is newer, you'll want to take note and see if permits were pulled from work done after the home was purchased from the builder, your Real Estate Partner Realtor can guide you through this process, in newer communities like Auburn Bay, buyers will often purchase a home from the builder without a developed basement to save on their purchase price, giving them freedom to develop once they've taken possession, this work though, would require a permit. 

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