It was the right question I asked the listing agent on behalf of my buyer.
The answer? The wrong one.
No permits pulled to enclose a screened in porch and extend a deck.
The result, in this case, was not a good one for the seller. The town building and engineering departments inspected the property and found the construction was not to code and the deck had to be partially removed and replaced.
This does not always happen like this BUT a buyer’s agent should not be the FIRST person to ask the question.
When I list a property, I always ask the sellers about any improvements made and if permits were pulled. I verify by making a trip to the town hall to check the assessor and building department records. Sometimes everything seems to be in order, but maybe the permit was not closed or the certificate of occupancy (CO) was simply not signed off. Things do slip through the cracks unbeknownst to the homeowner.
Permits and COs should be verified prior to listing and all should be in order and buttoned up when the property is listed.
I can guarantee if it’s not the buyer’s agent who uncovers permit-less work, it will be the bank appraiser backed up by the attorney’s search. It can cause all kinds of issues AND sink a transaction.
Advice to Sellers: Get all permits and certificates of occupancy in order BEFORE listing your home. You will be thankful you did.