Can You Sell a House with Code Violations

So, the time has come for you to sell your house? If that’s so, there’s a chance you might be wondering: can I sell it even with code violations? You’ll want to know that you’re not alone in those thoughts. Many home sellers are asking themselves the same question. That’s, among other things, why we’ve chosen to talk about this today. In the article you’re about to read, you’ll find everything there’s to know about whether or not one can sell a house with code violations. Stay tuned for some helpful info! 

What are code violations?

First things first, let’s see what do we exactly mean by code violations. There are federal/state/local residential building codes intended to provide safety, health, and other benefits in general to the overall public when we’re speaking of the construction and occupancy of a single home. If, for some reason, your house/building doesn’t meet these codes, it is in violation. Of course, these building codes aren’t set in stone; they’re being frequently revised. A person might find out their old home doesn’t meet the current code in their area. Although, as long as your home’s safe & livable, the option of selling it shouldn’t be somehow disregarded.

A simple answer

To give a simple answer to the question in the title: yes, you can sell your home even with code violations. Although, either your or the buyer will have to ensure the property’s up to code before you seal the deal (if you want to avoid fines). Most mortgage lenders won’t approve a loan if there are significant code violations present. That’s the info we got from the folks at mastermovingguide.com, the famous movers-and-everything-that’s-mildly-related-to-moving database. Since they deal with relocation daily and have encountered people with homes full of code violations, their opinion is to be trusted.

Three white textbooks stacked on top of each other.

How do you conduct your repairs/home improvement projects?

Did you make any improvements or renovations to your place without the proper permits or using inappropriate and unsafe materials? If only one of those things (or both) is correct, there’s a good chance your home’s violating the code. If you’re planning to do a home repair project now, make sure it meets the standard. 

Other examples of code violations

Of course, the above example can’t be the whole thing. One can make many home violations, from the obvious ones to the less visible ones. Here, we’ll give you a list of all the scenarios that can be considered as breaking the code:

  • Smoke alarms that don’t have proper placement.
  • Your fence doesn’t meet the height requirement. 
  • You’ve got polybutylene piping.
  • Your deck isn’t correctly attached to the house. 
  • Unpermitted additions (for instance, you’ve turned your garage into a living area).
  • Your exhaust fans are venting into the attic

If possible, the easiest way to resolve the code violations issue is to do it independently. Most buyers won’t like the fact they’d have to do some repairs, even if you’re selling them your soon-to-be ex-home for a lower price. 

Home inspection?

As we’ve said, these codes are constantly changing. One can’t be totally up-to-date on them. That’s the reason why we recommend you conduct a thorough home inspection. You’ll ensure that not a single home violation issue stays hidden by hiring professionals. Also, you’ll want to know that most US states legally obligate the seller to disclose any code violations that might be present before finishing the transaction. 

How to sell a house with code violations?

Okay, so we’ve talked about whether or not it’s possible to sell a home with code violations. It might be time to see just how a home seller should act on it? In other words: how can you sell your house with code violations? You’ve got a few options.

Selling your home as-is

There’s a reason why this is one of the most popular options out there. Selling your home as-is means that you’ll sell your home (in its current state, with all code violation issues) to an investor for cash. Most people use the option to sell old, inherited homes. This is absolutely the way to go if you want to avoid the unnecessary stress usually associated with home improvement projects

A quick digression

If you choose the option above, there’s a chance you won’t have a lot of time to prepare for the incoming relocation. There are some tips that will help you do this in a hurry, and we suggest you familiarize yourself with them as you might have to plan a last-minute move. For instance, hiring professionals or getting your friends to help you pack room-by-room might be your best option. 

Lower your price

If the seller (you) won’t do the repairs, someone (buyer) will have to. The only way you’ll get them to do it is to lower the price so they can have the funds to conduct these projects. However, as implied above, there’s a good chance most buyers will be turned off by this “opportunity.” Also, the buyer will probably have some issues securing a mortgage for a home with various code violations. You’ll want to know that this option is only good when the repairs don’t require much money invested and are an easy fix in general. Bear in mind that determining your home’s value is difficult with no code violations present – but it become especially challenging once they get in the mix.

Bonus tip: Fixing the place yourself

There are code violations that are pretty cheap to fix. Doing them in your arrangement will ensure your home is sold faster than it would if certain issues were left to resolve – unless you’re selling the place as-is, of course. Anyway, if the home improvements are cheap and easy to fix, you should do them yourself. Just don’t have any unrealistic expectations if you decide to sell a house with code violations – it might take some time.

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