Home inspection no permits/neighbor built multi unit but zoned single family

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Submitted by wallers on April 26, 2015 - 12:28pm

Hey Hey everyone,
I have posted a few comments here. All of you offer great feedback so wanted to see what you thought of my 2 questions below.

Long story short I decided to put my money where my internet mouth is (see economics post) and rent as I believe a market correction is coming.

So the first house I went to look at was what I would have bought. So met the landlord, chit chatted, took the tour and she said the house was mine pending credit check. Then as I am walking out the door she said oh the lease is month to month. Asked if she was selling and she said yes. Asked her the price and it was reasonable (I know the comps well for this area) So told her I would buy and it and she can save agents fees (and I get some off as well and not hit the open market). So got the paper work to her and we are in in escrow. Again exactly what I am looking for at a reduced market price. What I am looking for his also hard to find and in demand and usually above what I can pay. So thought I did good.

Couple things kinda sort of bother me.
1)She said she had all the electrical and plumbing replaced and the roof. So being the curious person I am looked at the permit history on the house and nada. I believe her. She is smart but maybe not when it comes to contractors and houses etc. So she may have not had the best people working on the house you know what I mean. I will let my inspector know and she is giving me the invoices. Anything else I should do with this? If was an addition that was not permitted I would be more concerned. Should I try and make her get the work signed off on by the city retroactively? Leave it be? Other ideas?

2) There is a single family house next door with a huge addition (basically taking up their entire lot). Looks like permits were pulled for their original plans for an addition but looks to me like they built a duplex in back attached to their residence. So nothing was ever inspected after permits were pulled and the permits all expired several years back (thinking plans were deviated to build multi units). The lot is zoned single family. My guess is (and just a guess as I do not know yet) he got the permits as an addition for a single family, then built a multi family and never had anything inspected because of this. Since this is going to be my forever home I want to make real sure I am happy there. One of my deal breakers is living next to an apartment building or multi unit rentals because of the potential for excessive noise. I was thinking no noise no problem. If there is noise talk to the owner next door to see what he can do. If that does not work go to plan C which I really don't want to do because it could make my life hell if I called the city on it. By the way it's a nice quiet street so the norm would be quiet. Been by there several times in the evening and it's quiet. But the second unit is not finished so who knows.

In a buyers market I might walk. But in this insane market this is my best chance at getting what I want if all goes well with the neighbor and it's quiet. And I am having a helluva time finding a rental as well so it's tough all the way around.

What would you do on each of these?


Submitted by fun4vnay2 on April 27, 2015 - 7:45am.

If you already have so many concerns, I think you should move on. I'd not like to buy a house beside a house which already has so many additions with or without permit. But that's me.

Submitted by joec on April 27, 2015 - 6:37pm.

I can't say I know a thing about permits...but another thing to consider is when YOU sell this place, your buyer pool might be limited since some people won't want to deal with this neither.

If lack of permits is a problem, then I don't think I'd ever want to waste my precious time on sorting any of it out.

It maybe the best addition or works really well, but a new buyer simply doesn't care about that or the great memories in a house.

Submitted by CA renter on May 1, 2015 - 1:46am.

Is the addition single-story, or two-story? Does it really impact the livability of the home and property that you're interested in, or is it just something that nags you for some other reason?

No matter where you move, you may very well have a neighbor or two that you don't like...maybe even one that you hate. Personally, I think it's better to focus on the neighbors that you do like. Just ignore the "bad" ones (and it's all relative), and know that living with differences is just part of living, and as long as they are really offensive, just live and let live. Other people might be offended by something you do, too. It's just how things are.

You did very well on finding this home, being astute enough to figure out what the potential landlord was hoping to do, and pouncing on it. If it looks like a really good deal, and if the location, lot, and layout are what you're looking for, go for it!

As you know, good/cheap rentals are hard to find. This deal sounds like one of those rare opportunities in life where you will look back on it and high-five yourself. :)

Hope it goes well, and that you make friends with these neighbors. They might be some of the awesomest people you've ever met!

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