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Unread 12-29-2005, 05:01 PM   #1
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Renovations Done but didn't go through Code

Hey Guys,

I know I usually am posting about floor heating and this is mainly a tile site, but I was wondering if anyone out there could help my future father in law out.

About 13 years ago he fully finished the basement in his house, about 1800 square feet, including a kitchen (with gas stove), two bathrooms, 3 bedrooms and 2 living/famiy spaces. Of course he did the whole thing without telling the city. He'll probably be selling the house in the next 4 to 5 years and is worried that he may get fined or severely penalized because of the "illegal" work done. He lives in St Louis.

When he first came to this country (he was a vietnamese refugee) he knew nothing of carpentery or contracting work, but taught himself by starting about doing odd jobs and ended up knowing how to do plumbing and gas work. All the work is done very well (no broken or leaky pipes in over 10 years of use (though he probably could have used this forum for some of the tile work - some crooked lines ) and I assumed that he would just need a GC or contractor to come in and "bring it up to code".

Is this assumption correct? and if so do any of you know the procedure for getting the improvements of the house "up to code"

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated,

Just to let you all know, I work for WarmlyYours.

Warmly Yours
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Unread 12-29-2005, 06:02 PM   #2
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up to code will not help you situation because the work was done so long ago. You can ge everything inspected but if there are no plans they could make you open all walls and ceilings to see everything. My advice is to be as honest with them as possible.
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Unread 12-29-2005, 06:37 PM   #3
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Homeowners can usually do work on their own residence. Wade you may just need a home inspector go through the house and address what he finds.

It would not hurt to have the plumbing, electrical, gas, and HVAC checked by appropriate contractors.

Tell him not to worry, the man isn't going to come after him.

If he did it your house, its another story.
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Unread 12-29-2005, 09:24 PM   #4
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Wouldn't think it would matter a bit. Every house I've bought, It's never been questioned WHO did the work. I think the biggest concern would be if he had an inspector come in, his taxes would go up quite a bit. I bet they have the price of his house marked a lot lower down at the county building than it's actually worth. Not sure if it was listed as a finished basement or not to begin with but now, it's definately worth more than what he bought it for.

Personally, I'd not worry about it until it was time to sell. Then, just throw it on the market like normal. No need to report nothing to no-one.

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Unread 12-29-2005, 09:50 PM   #5
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I don't think Wade is worried about "who" did the work, but that the work was done without any permits. It doesn't matter if your the homeowner or a contractor, a permit is still required.

I wouldn't worry about it, because there isn't much you can do about it. To do it the right way would require ripping everything out, and starting over with getting permits and inspections. Trying to get after the fact permits would open up a can of worms.

If a potential buyer has a problem with it, don't sell it to them. After all, its a sellers market. Here in NJ, there is a disclosure law. That just means you have to lie when you state that you got all required permits for any work you have done.
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Unread 12-29-2005, 10:19 PM   #6
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As a good prospective SIL, kiss a little patooti by hiring your ol' daddy-in-law-to-be a pre-sale home inspection. Just tell the inspector you're planning to purchase the house and leave him alone. The report will give you a good eye-dee where you stand. And that's exactly what's gonna happen when they really try to sell the house. It will be dinero well spent and you can work on fixing any items that are actually of possible safety and health concern.

Anybody ever brings up the issue of changes to the structure that have been done, act dumb. What changes? Oh, those changes. Dunno. Always been that way far as we know.

I wouldn't go to the municipal authorities on any of it, were it mine. Always easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Good eye-dee to be sure all the serious stuff is up to snuff, though; electric, gas plumbing, that sorta thing. House burns down it's a lot more difficult to sell, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 12-31-2005, 03:32 PM   #7
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Thanks CX, being from Vietnam, he's a little wary of any kind of authority figures, but I think getting a home inspection early will give us a few years to cover our bases and spread the costs of any improvements/changes that need to be made,

thanks guys for your thoughts,

Just to let you all know, I work for WarmlyYours.

Warmly Yours
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