In the U.S., real estate properties and buildings are required to be up to code, which are a set of standards all structures must abide by. These rules help to ensure the safety and health of the residents dwelling in the home, as well as the local community. Building codes vary from city to city based on a variety of factors, such as climate and geography. As an example, the standards will be different for a home in Florida, which is sunny, humid and mostly flat, compared to Georgia, which is mountainous and has greater potential for snow. These considerations are kept in mind when municipalities create code requirements.
If you’re thinking of selling a home with code violations, there are a number of factors to consider. Read on to learn more about your options.
What is a code violation?
A code violation is a violation of the building code standards established by local, state or federal law. These codes are designed to protect the health, safety, welfare, and quality of life for residents and the greater community.
Some examples of common code violations are:
- Overloaded electric panel — If you have an older home that’s been remodeled, the electrical work may not be up to code. One of the common things a city inspector would look for is an overloaded electrical panel.
- Add-on rooms or new sections of the house — New rooms that are added after the original build of a home are often not up to code. One of the issues might be a new floor that can’t bear an adequate load.
- Bathroom or kitchen remodel — Over the years, it’s common to refresh your kitchen or bathroom. There are also codes that apply to these spaces, such as the distance from your toilet to the wall.
You might think only run-down homes get code violations, but — in actuality — many homes aren’t to code unless they were recently built with a final inspection and certificate of occupancy. As time passes, codes get updated and changed, which means that even a home that was once compliant may not be in present day. Additionally, home improvements and renovations have surged in the last couple years, which can impact a property’s compliancy as well.
What happens when you get a code violation?
Code violation complaints are made to a municipality. When a complaint is made, a code enforcement officer will visit the property to see if the complaint is valid. As an example, residents in Palm Beach County, Florida, can file a complaint with the Palm Beach County Code Enforcement Division. Once a complaint is made, a code enforcement officer tracks and investigates it. If a code violation is found, the code inspector must notify the violator and give them a reasonable amount of time to correct the violation. If the violation isn’t corrected by the specified time, the code inspector will notify the enforcement board and request a hearing to determine next steps. For repeat violations, the code inspector is not required to give the violator a reasonable time to correct the issue.
Selling a house with code violations
It is possible to sell a house with code violations, but it should be fully disclosed to the prospective new owner prior to the sale. In Florida, the current owner would have to deliver a copy of the pleadings, notices and other materials that relate to the code enforcement proceeding to the new prospective owner (transferee). The current owner would also have to disclose, in writing, to the new homeowner that they will now become responsible for bringing the property up to code. As a result of this additional responsibility, many prospective homeowners will either not want to buy a house with code violations or they’ll want to buy it at a severely discounted price.
Alternatively, you could hire a contractor to fix the code violations. Then, you’d have the chance to get closer to the asking price you really want for your property. However, it can take weeks to months for some home projects to get completed and the help doesn’t come cheap. The average cost for a general contractor is $4,000, according to Angi (formerly Angie’s List). However, that price can vary greatly depending on the work that needs to be done and the number of people required to help.
A better alternative
There’s a faster, easier and safer way to sell a house with code violations — without having to drive down the asking price or pay thousands to fix it. You might consider selling your property to a home investment company, such as Meridian Trust. For more than 15 years, we’ve purchased tens of thousands of homes, townhomes, condos, apartments, and multi-family units. Simply call us for a free, no obligation property value analysis. If we’re able to make you a cash offer, you can then decide if you’d like to move forward. There are no hidden fees and we even take care of the closing costs for you.
To learn more, give us a call at (954) 807-9087.
Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. Meridian Trust does not make any guarantees about the sufficiency of the content in or linked to from this blog post or that it is compliant with current law. The content within this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice or legal services. You should not rely on this information for any purpose without consulting a licensed lawyer in your area.
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