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Watch out! Unpermitted additions should be a warning!

Some homeowners bypass the permit process when they remodel their home. They may find the process too expensive or cumbersome. Permitting fees can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars or more. Some homeowners may believe that if they go ahead with a kitchen or bath remodel without a permit, they’ll likely never get caught.

But failing to get a permit could be troublesome when they go to sell the home.

Most states require homeowners to fill out a disclosure statement when they go to sell. In that form, sellers are usually asked if they completed work to the home without a required permit. Lying about it can also backfire—the sellers could be sued later by the new homeowner for making false statements.

“You can personally become liable for work carried out without permits,” writes Bill Gassett, a real estate professional. “Maybe the finished basement built by the previous homeowner with the fancy kitchen that sold the home has to be ripped out, or you’ll have to pay a penalty.”

Also, if there’s any incident that was caused by the lack of permits, the homeowner may face a denial of their insurance claim. If their insurance company finds they didn’t have the required permit, they could deny the claim. Many of these denied insurance claims stem from incidents that involve remodeling projects around electricity, gas, or water that were done without the appropriate permits.

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