Selling A House With Code Violations

Selling A House With Code Violations

Picture of a house

Are you considering putting your house on the market? You might be wondering if it meets building code standards. If your property is found to be non-compliant, it could make finding a buyer a challenge.

In many states, it’s legally required to disclose any code violations to potential buyers. Failing to do so could leave you vulnerable to future lawsuits, underscoring the importance of confirming your property’s status.

Hiring a home inspector can provide clarity on your situation and outline any necessary updates. If code violations are discovered, there’s no need to panic. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t sell your house. In fact, there are various options available for how you can proceed with listing your property on the market.

What Constitutes A Code Violation?

A code violation occurs when a property doesn’t meet the standards outlined in municipal or county building codes.

These codes are regulations established by local, state, or federal authorities to govern the construction and design of both commercial and residential structures. Their purpose is to safeguard the public’s health, safety, and overall well-being.

building plans

Understanding a Code Violation:

Initially, the term “code violation” may sound concerning. It can potentially slow down or even halt the selling process, as most buyers prefer a property they can move into without delay.

However, it’s essential to note that a code violation doesn’t automatically signify that the property is unsafe or condemned. In some cases, a violation notice could be issued for something as simple as neglecting to maintain the lawn. In older or inherited properties, it might only indicate that the structure doesn’t meet current standards.

It’s worth mentioning that building codes are regularly updated, meaning what was once considered compliant may no longer meet the current standards. Ultimately, the authority to determine a property’s compliance lies with city hall officials. Due to the frequent changes in building codes, staying up-to-date can be a challenge.

Construction workers looking at plans

Examples Of Building Code Violations

  • Improper smoke alarm placement: Smoke alarms should be positioned outside each bedroom.
  • Missing carbon monoxide or smoke alarms.
  • Absence of GFCI outlets: These must be installed within 6 feet of any water source to prevent electrocution accidents.
  • Utilization of polybutylene piping: This material reacts with chlorine in water, causing micro-fractures that lead to burst pipes, resulting in flooding and water damage.
  • Lack of expansion tank for water heaters: An expansion tank prevents excessive water pressure buildup due to the natural expansion of heated water.
  • Handrails without returns: To prevent falls caused by snagging, handrails should end by turning into a wall.
  • Improper flashing of windows and doors, potentially causing water damage and moisture ingress.
  • Exhaust fans venting into the attic instead of outside the house.
  • Violation of zoning ordinances.
  • Conversion of garage into a living space.

Can I Sell My House With Code Violations?

Picture of air conditioner repair

In short, the answer is definitely “Yes”

When it comes to selling a house with code violations, transparency is key. It’s crucial to be forthright with potential buyers regarding any issues uncovered during the home inspection.

The positive news is that in a strong buyer’s market, your home’s value won’t be significantly impacted even with violations. We were quoted in that home prices are steadily increasing, with this trend expected to continue.

Even if you need to invest in repairs, you’ll ultimately benefit. Moreover, addressing these issues will enhance your property’s value, allowing you to command a premium price.

What Are Code Violations That Need To Be Repaired?

Typically, these infractions involve safety concerns, including:

Plumber fixing a sink

Electrical or Plumbing Deficiencies

These violations often necessitate repairs. Outdated electrical and plumbing systems, commonly found in older homes, can pose risks to potential buyers. Moreover, most mortgage lenders may not grant approval if code violations exist.

Structural Complications

Issues such as cracked foundations, sagging ceilings, or buckled basement walls, often resulting from natural disasters like floods or earthquakes, constitute structural damage. If this applies to your situation, you may check your eligibility for home repair assistance through FEMA.

Pest Control Problems

Pest infestations not only jeopardize health but also constitute a significant code violation. The seller must address this issue and ensure the property is pest-free before listing it for sale.

Addressing these code violations can be financially demanding and may require professional intervention. It’s crucial to evaluate your financial situation and, if necessary, consider potentially borrowing money for the repairs. Calculate whether you can recoup these costs from the sale.

What Are My Options When Selling My House With Code Violations?

If you need to sell a house or any property with code violations, you have two basic options to choose from: Make the repairs, or lower the price so that you can sell the house As-Is and the buyer can make the repairs.

couple paying bills

Fix The Code Violations

When deciding on the best course of action, it’s important to consider the buyer’s primary concerns, which revolve around their ability to secure financing and insurance. Mortgage lenders typically stipulate that the seller address any issues prior to closing the deal. Furthermore, local codes mandate that the seller rectify these violations to avoid potential fines.

Taking these steps is the optimal approach if you aim to fetch the highest price for your house.

Certain code violations are purely aesthetic and can be rectified with minimal expense and effort. These may involve tasks like draining and cleaning an unused pool, asbestos removal, repainting areas with peeling paint, and basic landscaping.

However, more substantial problems, such as plumbing issues or structural damage, may incur higher costs and necessitate more time to resolve. If you lack the financial means or time to tackle these repairs, exploring alternative options may be prudent.

Lower Your Price To Sell Your House AS-IS

cutting the price

If you find yourself unable to cover the repair costs or can’t locate a buyer willing to address the property’s issues, consider collaborating with a real estate investor or a house flipper. They are often interested in purchasing homes in their current condition, especially those in distress.

Additionally, these buyers typically offer cash, making it an expedient option if you’re looking for a swift sale.

Opting to sell your house to a cash buyer means you won’t have to allocate funds for real estate agent commissions. This means you can conclude the sale with a fresh start and utilize the proceeds to embark on a new chapter in your life.

Tips For Selling Your House With Code Violations

fixing a doorbell

Be completely honest. Disclose all flaws and violations and save the headache of discovery later.

Fix some of the smaller violations, like perhaps installing or replacing smoke detectors, to show that you are being fair and worth working with.

Always make your house as presentable as possible. You can do this by simply cleaning, organizing, and eliminating clutter. Mowing your lawn can go a long way too.

If you have a house with multiple code violations, finding a cash buyer / investor is likely your best bet. Especially if you want to sell quickly.

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Academy Home Buyers, Real Estate Investing, Virginia Beach, VA