Unpermitted Construction Can Create Havoc When Buying/Selling a Home

13 April 2013  
Is there an unpermitted structure on your property? It might make it more difficult to sell.

This weather is what makes Prescott great! Hello, I'm Gary Edelbrock, and I've been talking with Nancy and Brian Biggs about the importance of researching property before purchasing. Here they discuss a situation that happens all too frequently: Unpermitted construction.

With Your Permission

By Nancy and Brian Biggs

Here is an unfortunate case that happens all the time. These were not our clients, but they later contacted us when they decided to move into a larger home. They were unhappy with their previous agent, who did almost no research for them and rarely gave an opinion about anything. When they started describing their current home, we quickly realized which house it was. We had previously shown this house to another client who walked away from it after our research. The home has an unpermitted Arizona room.  

Unpermitted construction happens all the time. Some people feel like it is too much hassle to get a building permit. They just build and hope that nobody ever finds out. As it turns out, this particular room was built prior to 1999. The house had since been sold at least four times and no one ever disclosed that the room was not permitted.

This game of musical chairs is quickly coming to an end, and it is no fun when you are left standing when the music stops playing. In the past, unpermitted structures were fairly often overlooked. They went unreported and few people went looking for permits. Times have changed for multiple reasons, driven by more savvy agents and lenders. Listing and Buying agents are now looking for potentially unpermitted structures and confirming that permits exist. Lenders are now asking appraisers to research properties to determine if there are unpermitted structures. If an unpermitted structure is found, the lender may refuse to lend on the property unless an as-built permit is obtained.

Obtaining an as-built permit can be a simple process if the structure was built to code, or can be challenging if the structure is hazardous. The permitting authority may require modifications to the structure or even require the structure to be removed. If you know that you have an unpermitted structure, then we would encourage you to obtain an as-built permit prior to listing your home for sale.

You can research the permits for your house by checking with the permitting authority of the city or county that your property is in. Unincorporated areas such as Williamson Valley and the Prescott Country Club are permitted through Yavapai County. You can check the country permit website or the Prescott Valley permits. You will need to search for your property, and then click on the Permits button. Prescott, unfortunately, has no online system, so you will need to go in person to 201 S. Cortez St. to check for permits.

Again, we encourage you to act quickly. As time goes on, permitting authorities are becoming stricter, and disclosure requirements are becoming more serious. So, hurry up before the music stops playing!

Nancy and Brian Biggs, Broker/Owners

Prescott Home Realty

1177 Old Chisholm Trail

Dewey, AZ 86327

Nancy's Cell: 928-273-7113

Brian's Cell: 928-273-7112


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Gary Edelbrock

Gary Edelbrock

Kim Horn Realty
(928)-778-0442 Home/Cell
(928)-778-7036 Office
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