You’ve found your dream home in Austin, your Realtor has negotiated some good terms and you’re in your option period. It’s time for due diligence, and one thing most people overlook are building permits.
Now most of us are ready to hire a licensed real estate inspector to review the home, and to get a wood destroying insect report. If there are special systems that need inspecting, such as a septic system, we’re ready to get the septic tank pumped and inspected.
There’s one more thing that you need to add to the list, especially if buying within the Austin City Limits – you need to check for open or expired permits. If you buy a home with an expired or open permit, you may have difficulty getting a new permit when you want to change something in the future.
This applies to new homes too – a solar contractor friend who is going to put PV panels on the roof of a 15 month old home just informed the owner that his home had an expired permit. The City wouldn’t grant a new permit to attach the panels to the grid until it was resolved. So he now has to wait until the irrigation system is inspected before he can put solar panels up.
In this case the builder isn’t hard to track down. They’re still active in the subdivision. With a resale home, the builder or contractor could be long gone, and you could be buying some expensive contracting to get the permit resolved and to get the home fit to start any new work. That’s the kind of information you want in your option period as part of your due diligence.
Luckily, the City of Austin allows you to search for permits by address at their website. Make sure your Realtor or you have checked out the permits before you buy a home that has construction baggage.
An Austin Realtor is a Central Austin Realtor ® who helps buyers and sellers navigate the hidden dangers in their home transactions. You can search for homes in Austin at his website.