Buying house with unknown Permit


We really like this house. But some of the permits are unknown. This was built in 60s. in 70s one bedroom was added and the sq footage was increased.

The city records show the updated sq footage. But the permit for this additional bedroom is not available. What does that mean?

Also, the latest owners upgraded the kitchen and bathrooms last year. For these the permits are available. So looks like the city is in.

What are the risks associated with buying such a house?

  • Legal
  • CIty asking for demoliton later
  • neighbor having issues
  • Taxes
  • Resale
  • Remodelling permits in future
  • Safety
  • More?


The bigest risk is the appraisal. .The appraisers don’t check for permits, just assessors records…Permit records weren’t carefully maintained in the 70s…If it appraises you will be OK. .


Come on, @akinom, listing details please??? Don’t worry, we won’t claim jump you…:grin:

I would have a reliable contractor or home inspector do his once over on the property to give you a professional opinion of what is going on there. That should tell you a lot about the risks with buying it.

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Correct. To add more.

In some cases, if the home record is not matching county records, appraiser gives value matching county records and the value will come low. In such case, more down payment likely required as lender will match 80% of appraisal value.

It happened to my friend in Cupertino, year 2007, and he had enough money to pay down.

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Tell me where it is…I will buy it…Cash buyer…We don’t care about appraisals…Just rental income…

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Did you call to county and see if they have any record? I got one house that City cannot tell if the addition is permitted or not due to record on film is not readable. But they said that they will err in my favor. But after I called to County (Santa Clara), they do have record that addition was added in 70s and even have exact square feet. But they never get around to updating official record. And within 5 minutes, they added it. It was probably my best spent 10 minutes to increase value to 50K or more since now I can tell the appraisals that it is in official sqft.