More and more cities are requiring that a presale inspection be performed by the city building department before a home can be transferred ( sold ) to a new buyer.
Municipalities are requiring “Pre-sale Inspections” for various reasons;
1. Protection of the buyer
– i.e. that the home is safe to live in and that there are no compliance or variance issues. Are there smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, etc.
2. Looking for work done without permits
Permits – To discover if the home has had remodeling, modifications or additions that require a permit.
3. Checking for Zoning compliance
Zoning, set back requirements and parking conformance – Is there any zoning issues or has a garage or room been added that is too close to the property line. Is the fence too high? Etc.
4. Illegal modifications, changes or usage
Illegal conversions – to check to see if the home has any illegal conversions; i.e. a garage converted to an apartment or living quarters.
5. Provides an additional source of revenue for the city:
- The city can charge for the presale inspection
- Work without a permit – thus a permit fee due to the city
- Property taxes – the house was added to without a permit, thus the property taxes are too low and need to be adjusted upward.
Does your city or area require a “Presale Inspection”?
A quick call to the city or county building department will usually answer this question. At times, the city or county website will tell you if a presale inspection is required and the fee for the inspection. Another good source is your real estate agent who should be familiar with whether the city requires their own inspection.
If A Violation Is Discovered By The Inspector – Then What?
Different cities will have different requirements on what must be done if a violation is discovered. Below is a sample of the language that may be used.
“If any violations are discovered by the city inspection, the seller shall correct such violations within a one year period or extension thereof, or prior to the close of escrow, whichever occurs first, or unless a waiver is signed by the buyer that the buyer will complete such corrections within one year from the date of escrow.”
Garage “Resale” Inspections
In addition, to an inspection of the resident / home, some municipalities require a “Garage Resale Inspection” be conducted before title to property can be transferred.
This requirement is usually applied in cities that have congested street parking. In many older areas owners have converted their garage to additional living spaces, man caves or game rooms, storage (with no room to park a car), or has a small business operating out of the garage.
These type of changes have resulted in the owners needing to park their cars on the street, which is often over crowded to begin with. Additional these changes are often in violation of local zoning requirements or city ordinances.
The city wants to know if the home being sold has the proper number of off-street parking spaces legally required by the city.
The permit process: Four parts of the permit process or four parts:
1. Application – may require engineered drawings at times
2. Obtain the permit – pay for it and the city or county issues the permit
3. Have inspections – different types and in the correct order (rough electrical, then drywall, then nailing, then taping)
4. Signed off or Finaled