Most cities require that homeowners obtain a building permit before making modifications to their residence. Which modifications require a permit varies by city. Also, some cities are more vigilant than others in enforcing permit laws. Rossmoor, Mutual Operations Division has a permit process quite similar to that of the City of Walnut Creeks process.
In order for the homeowner to receive a permit, the homeowner or his/her designee are required to file plans and pay fees to the city. In addition, the improvements are given a value. If they increase the value of the property, this may result in an increase in property taxes. Inspections are often required, and this means having to schedule and then wait for inspectors to approve the work to be done. This process can be time consuming and inconvenient in the short run. It is for this reason that some homeowners skip the permit process.
If a permit is needed and you fail to get one, the City of Walnut Creek and Rossmoor Mutual Operations may discover this at some time in the future and getting a permit retroactively can frequently be significantly more expensive and much more problematic than having obtained the permit before work commenced. If work is not done in accordance with permit procedures or if the inspector is unable to determine if the work has been done properly, the homeowner could be required to open walls, tear up floors, so that the inspection may take place. In addition, by law, work not permitted where a permit was required must be disclosed to any prospective purchaser. This may cause the owner to discount their sale price or perform costly or time-consuming repairs before title can be transferred.
For prospective buyers of a property, save yourself the future hassle and loss of money by researching whether all work on the premises have been done according to code and with the proper permits. You may obtain these permits by going directly to Building & Safety at the City of Walnut Creek or by hiring a "permit puller" who will research the permits for you.
As an alternative to working with an experienced real estate agent, you might consider selling your home yourself; however, if you choose this option, be prepared for a lot of work! It can and has been done, of course, but if you don't have the time and energy to commit to it (or need to sell in a hurry), this option might not be for you.
If selling your home on your own sounds like too much work, you might want to consider assist-to-sell programs, which most agents offer and can include yard signs, a marketing strategy and flyers at a very reasonable cost to you. Nine out of ten times, most do not have the time or the resources that a real estate agent may have, so it is best to use someone that is fully committed to selling your property, has access to a wide variety of resources and is focused on getting the highest price possible for the sale of your property.
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