Patricia Soucy | Rutland Real Estate, Holden Real Estate, Oakham Real Estate


Image by Sue Smith from Shutterstock

House owners frequently remodel, upgrade, or otherwise make changes in their homes for which they do not secure a permit. While some changes do not require permitting, others do. The challenge comes when you attempt to sell the home. You may run into a problem when a buyer makes an offer on such a property, and their inspector discovers unpermitted changes. Their mortgage lender may be unwilling to give them a loan until you remedy the permit issue.

Additionally, since building codes often change from year to year and certainly from decade to decade, and the property may have changed hands more than once before it came to you. Even if the upgrade occurred before you purchased it, you might be the one responsible for fixing it with your municipality.

What can you do? When you believe your home has unpermitted construction, learn as much as you can about it:

  • When did installation take place? Before you took ownership of the house? After? 

  • What is the construction? A pergola? A sunroom? That necessary second bathroom?

  • In the year or era of construction, was a permit required? Is there a permit in place of which you're not aware?

  • Can it be grandfathered?

What is “Grandfathering”?

The term “grandfather clause” refers to an exception to a code, restriction, or legal requirement. It allows anything already done legally “at the time” to continue even if a new limitation would not allow it. Regarding unpermitted home upgrades, if the construction was before the change in the code, check to see if the code requires retroactive compliance. In that case, exceptions typically pose a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property and need remediation. When code changes do not require retroactive compliance, knowing the date of the construction puts you in the clear.

Retroactive Permitting

When you discover retrofits, additions, upgrades, or renovations in your home, search city or county records for a permit. Ask for help to see if that type of work in the year(s) of its completion required one. If it needed a permit, and you do not find one in place, either request a retroactive authorization or plan to sell your home "as is" to a willing buyer. Municipalities often have methods in place to offer retroactive permits. Check to determine the total cost of the permitting process. In addition to the permit fee, you may have to pay fines, inspections, and other fees. Any modifications required because of the permitting process become your responsibility. When the total cost of obtaining retroactive permits and related fees and construction costs is higher than the return on your investment, consider the “as is” process.

Selling Your Home "As Is"

When you choose to sell your property "as is," you no longer need to disclose to the municipal building department that you may have unpermitted construction. Until you are sure you want to request a retroactive permit, do not disclose information when you communicate with building code offices that might trigger an inspection. 

In the selling process, however, fully disclose to your real estate agent all items you know about for certain. That is, tell them about additions or upgrades you installed while in ownership. Make sure a sale is not delayed or falls through because a lender requires a permit. Have an appropriate "as is" clause written into the sales contract. 

Confer with your real estate agent to determine if seeking a permit is in your best interested when selling with unpermitted additions.


With a home selling roadmap in place, you should have no trouble getting the best price for your house. Now, you just need to figure out what to include in this roadmap.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you craft a home selling roadmap that will ensure you can quickly and effortlessly sell your house.

Let's take a look at three must-have items to consider as you create your home selling roadmap.

1. Home Price

Ultimately, it is your duty as a home seller to establish a competitive initial home asking price. Doing so, however, may prove to be exceedingly difficult, particularly for those who are selling a house for the first time.

The real estate market fluctuates constantly and can affect home values in cities and towns nationwide. Meanwhile, the age and condition of your house likely will impact your residence's value as well.

To determine a competitive price for your house, it generally helps to conduct a home appraisal. This assessment will enable you to receive a property valuation from an expert home appraiser.

Also, you may want to complete a home inspection. Because if you perform a home inspection, you can identify any underlying home problems and correct these issues before you list your house.

2. The Buyer's Perspective

How will buyers perceive your house when they see it for the first time? It is essential to consider the buyer's perspective as you create your home selling roadmap, and doing so may enable you to identify home improvement opportunities.

For example, if your house's front lawn is covered in tall grass and weeds, you may want to perform lots of lawn care and maintenance. Mowing the front lawn sometimes can be tough, but performing this task will enable you to instantly enhance your house's curb appeal. Thus, when homebuyers see your home's pristine front lawn, they may be more likely than ever before to set up a showing.

3. How You'll Promote Your House

Showcasing your house to prospective buyers can be challenging. Luckily, real estate agents are available to help you promote your house to the right groups of buyers.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals. This housing market professional then will help you put together a home selling roadmap, one that ensures you can stir up plenty of interest in your home as soon as it becomes available.

A real estate agent also is happy to provide assistance as you proceed along the home selling journey. He or she will set up home showings and open house events, help you review home offers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns, a real estate agent will listen to them and respond accordingly.

Ready to add your residence to the housing market? Consider the aforementioned items as you develop your home selling roadmap, and you can boost the likelihood of a successful home selling experience.


Before you list your house, you'll need to establish a competitive price for it. That way, you can increase the likelihood of stirring up plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

Now, let's take a look at three best practices for pricing your home.

1. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

The current real estate market's conditions can impact your ability to sell your residence. However, if you study the real estate market closely, you can differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market and plan accordingly.

In a buyer's market, the number of home sellers exceeds the number of homebuyers. As such, you likely will need to establish an aggressive price right away to separate your house from the competition.

On the other hand, a seller's market favors home sellers over homebuyers. If you're operating in a seller's market, you may be better equipped than ever before to earn a significant profit.

To differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market, examine the prices of recently sold homes and available homes in your area. This housing market data can provide deep insights into the current state of the housing market. Plus, this data can help you understand how your residence stacks up against the competition.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

Ultimately, a home appraisal can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time.

During a home appraisal, a professional appraiser will examine your house both inside and out. Then, this appraiser will offer a valuation of your property based on his or her findings.

A home appraisal involves an evaluation of the current condition of your home, your house's age and your neighborhood. Therefore, if you complete a home appraisal, you should have no trouble using the appraisal results to help establish a fair price for your residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to selling a house, there is no need to work alone. Fortunately, if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert insights into all aspects of the home selling cycle.

A real estate agent is happy to meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. Next, this housing market professional will offer home pricing recommendations, ensuring you can make an informed decision about how to price your house.

In addition, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you can enjoy a seamless home selling experience. This housing market professional will promote your residence to large groups of homebuyers, set up home showings and open houses and put together an engaging and informative home listing. Also, a real estate agent will always keep you up to date about any offers on your home.

Looking to list your home in the near future? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can establish a competitive price for your residence and boost your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.



 Photo by RawPixel via Pixabay

It may be tempting to call an expert (and sometimes, you can't avoid doing so) to fix something or to enhance the decor of your home, but some projects are surprisingly easy to do. Tackling DIY projects at home has never been easier, thanks to the availability of tools and products designed just for homeowners. You won't have to pay contractor's rates -- and can have a custom look you'll love -- when you try one or more of these projects. 

Upgrade your Shower: Get an immediate boost to your shower when you swap out the old shower head for something new. Removing the old head and adding a fancy new one -- whether you want something adjustable or a spa-worthy rain shower. You won't need many tools and can remove the old head, clean things up, then add the new one in about an hour. You'll love the satisfaction that comes from doing this yourself, and be able to buy a more expensive shower head without blowing your budget, too. 

Paint a Room: Leave the cathedral ceilings and complicated spaces to a pro, but if you just need a quick color change in a bedroom, you can generally DIY it for about a quarter of the cost of hiring someone to do it. Expect to spend several hours over the course of the weekend and invest the savings into quality equipment and paint you'll never have to touch up or worry about. 

Prepare the Garden: Shoveling out a 10x10 space sounds less than appealing to most of us, but you can rent a tiller from a local home improvement store and DIY this space in under an hour. You'll be able to focus instead on the planning and planting -- not the grueling digging -- when you take this approach. If you can push a lawnmower, you can use a tiller to prepare any area for planting in a hurry. 

Assemble Furniture: You can hire someone to do it, or pay a fee for the store to assemble things, but if you have some spare time and a few tools, most items can go together very swiftly. Use the time to binge watch a new program and DIY the assembly. You'll save money and get the satisfaction that comes from knowing you can do things yourself. 

Powerwash: There are many powerwasher brands on the market today that offer a lot of cleaning for a small price. A contractor could charge you hundreds of dollars each time you need the service, or you can spend about a hundred one time and get a unit of your own. These smaller, more compact models still pack plenty of punch and can be used for decks, porches, patios and on your home itself with ease. 

Simple projects like these build your skills and your inventory of supplies and tools. If you have a project in mind that can be safely done, it is worth exploring your DIY options -- you could end up leanring something new and creating a finished look you'll love. 

 


The home selling journey can be long and time-consuming, particularly for those who are listing a residence for the first time. Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to avoid the danger of becoming a "typical" home seller, i.e. someone who lacks the skills and know-how to generate plenty of interest in his or her property.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to become an expert home seller.

1. Review the Current State of the Housing Market

The housing market often fluctuates. As such, a buyer's market today may quickly morph into a seller's market tomorrow.

Ultimately, an expert home seller will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about the current state of the real estate market. He or she will be able to identify housing market patterns and trends and collect extensive real estate market data to map out the home selling journey accordingly.

To learn about the housing market, take a look at some of the houses that are currently available in your city or town. Evaluating available houses in your area will allow you to find out how your residence stacks up against the competition.

Also, assess the prices of recently sold residences in your region. This may help you differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.

2. Analyze Your House's Interior and Exterior

For a home seller, it is paramount that his or her residence makes a positive first impression on potential homebuyers. And if you enhance your house's interior and exterior, you may be able to boost your chances of a quick, seamless home sale.

A property appraisal usually represents a great starting point for home sellers. This appraisal involves a full evaluation of your house by a property inspector. Then, you'll receive a report that outlines your home's strengths and weaknesses and will help you plan any home improvement projects.

Also, it is important to remember that there are many simple ways to upgrade your home's exterior and interior.

Home exterior improvements like mowing the front lawn and clearing dirt and debris from walkways can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers.

Removing clutter from your home offers multiple benefits as well. De-cluttering allows you to free up space inside your residence as well as get rid of unwanted items.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to navigate the home selling process on your own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to help you remove the guesswork as you proceed along the home selling journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to promote your residence to large groups of potential property buyers. In fact, he or she will set up property showings and open houses, offer honest, unbiased home selling suggestions and respond to your home selling queries at any time.

Don't settle for an "average" home selling experience. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an expert home seller in no time at all.