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How To Sell A House With Unpermitted Work In Missouri

You have been working really hard to renovate your house to get ready to sell, spending hours finishing painting, tiling, hanging new light fixtures…but did you get permits for all this hard work?

For a lot of homeowners, this minor detail can slip through the cracks, becoming a problem when you want to put your home on the market. 

It could even be simple stuff that you may not think requires a permit like building out attic space, deck modifications, roofing, even a basement finish. Unpermitted work is not that uncommon. However, what is important is the actions you take next when you want to sell your house. 

Selling a house with unpermitted work in Missouri can have significant legal and financial consequences. Not revealing the unpermitted work to potential buyers can lead to being sued down the road when they discover that there was unpermitted work completed on the house while you owned it. 

Unfortunately, even if you sell the property with unpermitted work that was done by the previous owner, you still can be liable. 

So, it’s important to understand what unpermitted work in Missouri is and how to go about selling a house with unpermitted work. 

Sell A House With Unpermitted Work

Handyman with a tool belt. House renovation service

What is Unpermitted Work in Missouri?

If you’re curious about what unpermitted work is, you’re not alone. Unpermitted work on a house can be in the form of finishing a basement, adding a bedroom, or tearing down walls to open up space. For specific details, look over the building and code ordinances for Kansas City, MO. 

Why Your House May Have Unpermitted Work 

It’s one thing to have unpermitted work done knowingly, maybe to save a few hundred dollars, but it’s another thing to have unpermitted work completed and not even know about it. Here’s how unpermitted work may have gone unnoticed. 

Construction Permits are Not Cheap To Get

Construction permits for homes can be expensive. And what ends up happening is some homeowners may go with an under-the-counter contractor who can do the work for cheaper.

But those contractors are less expensive because they aren’t following through with the correct permitting requirements required by local building codes. And those savings you’re getting on the renovation costs comes from not paying for building permits. 

There are those cases where contractors li, unfortunately, it happens. Fishy contractors will charge homeowners for building permits that they never will go and get. When contractors charge owners for construction permits that were never pulled, it leaves the homeowner exposed to lawsuits and thousands of dollars in repairs. 

So not only will you have unpermitted work in Missouri lingering on your house, but you will have to start all over again and hire another contractor to fix the job. They will likely have to redo the work because repairs that need permits are usually in the wall, like framing, insulation, electrical, and foundation work. 

The new contractor will need to remove the work that your first contractor didn’t have permits to renovate. 

If you end up in a situation where the seller didn’t disclose unpermitted work in Missouri, the first thing you can do is reach out to the previous owner and ask about the renovations they had done.

When you do approach them, make sure not to come across as aggressive. You want to remember, there is a chance that their contractor lied to them too.

If you don’t have their contact information, the best way to get their number is to reach out to your real estate agent and have them contact the listing agent to share the previous owners phone number. Once you explain what is going on, usually, the listing agent is understanding. 

Missouri Permit Law Is Always Changing  

Missouri building permit laws frequently change, which is what could have happened to you or the previous owners. Keeping up with local permitting statutes can be difficult because they are consistently modified.

When you are having work done on your property, a good thing to do is ask the contractor is if any of the work being done will need to be permitted. And then, on the safe side, have the contractor show you the specific building codes that would prove you don’t need permitting if they tell you there is no need for them. 

If you do end up needing permits pulled for construction on your home, have your contractor show you proof that the permits were pulled. Beware, though, they can fake and replicate building permits. 

So to play it safe, call down to the local permitting office and ask for them to verify the permit number that the contractor gave you. By doing this, you will ensure unpermitted work will not be done to your house.

Intentionally Skipping Permits

It happens, some homeowners are cheap or maybe a tad rebellious. They may not feel like spending money on permits. But there is no way to tell for sure if they intentionally or unintentionally had unpermitted work done prior to selling you the house.

If you find yourself in a situation where the seller didn’t disclose unpermitted work in Missouri, as said before, start with a phone call. When you call them, make sure to approach the subject casually. Coming at them with accusations or hints that they did unpermitted work on the house will definitely make them put up their defenses, and you will likely get zero information out of them. 

Start by asking them who the contractors were that worked on the house because you want to hire them for some extra work to be done to the home. Then, you can call the contractors and ask them about the permits on the property.

If you cannot get any information from the contractor and the homeowner, call down to the county code enforcement office and ask about the home’s permit history.

If repairs were done without permits being pulled, ask the contractor to give proof of permits being pulled. There are times that they will have it, and it was just a documentation mishap. In other instances, it will come to light that the homeowner and contractor intentionally skipped over that detail to save money by doing unpermitted work on the property. 

While all this sounds like extra work, the fact is permits are not as expensive as you may think. And it’s important to get to the bottom of things while getting all the permits you need. 

Selling A House With Unpermitted Work In Missouri

Unfortunately, most prospective buyers will pass on buying a home with unpermitted work done to it. I mean, can you blame them? It is pretty risky.

The problems that arise when selling a home with unpermitted work in Missouri, that is, if someone is willing to purchase it, is that you more than likely will have to accept a lower offer. While this isn’t something you probably want to hear, the potential buyers will have to invest their time and money into having repairs redone and pulling the permits for the work to be completed.

You’re probably thinking, “can’t I just try selling a house with unpermitted work in Missouri. They probably won’t ever find out.” And maybe they won’t, but is it worth it? Here is what could happen, you could get dragged into a lawsuit over selling a house with unpermitted improvements in Missouri, which can cost you thousands of dollars in court and attorney fees, not to mention missed work. And then, after all that, you will have to go back and pay for the unpermitted renovations to be redone correctly.

If you’re selling a house with unpermitted work in Missouri, you need to disclose all the repairs that have unpermitted work done upfront. For example, if you finished out an attic space and didn’t have a permit, you need to share that the attic is finished out but unpermitted. 

By disclosing the information, it will potentially save you from being sued down the road. If you find yourself in this type of situation always consult with a local real estate attorney to be safe. 

Hand giving money - United States Dollars (or USD)

Another Solution: Sell to a Home Buying Company 

Instead of being stuck selling a house with unpermitted work in Missouri, sell your home to a local cash home buyer. Home buyers purchase houses that don’t have permits all the time. It’s in situations like this that a cash home buyer can come in handy. They buy properties in as-is condition and have a team in place to handle fixing unpermitted work. This route will save you the time and money it would take to redo the unpermitted work, find a contractor, and pull permits. 

Even if you were to go to all that trouble, you would still have months of uncertainty waiting for your house to sell once all the work is done. And depending on your situation, you may not be able to waste precious time for your home to sell. Instead, sell to a local homebuyer like Offer House

Offer House is a real estate solutions company based out of Kansas City. They are a family-oriented business and want to help homeowners like you find a win-win solution for whatever problem you’re facing. When you sell directly to Offer House, you will be able to get a great price and fast closing.

If you’re interested in getting a no-obligation cash offer, please contact us! If you have any questions or would like to know more about us or how it works, please visit the Offer House website for more information. 

Instead of worrying about selling a house with unpermitted work in Missouri, sell to Offer House today!


Kevin is a real estate investor dedicated to helping homeowners sell their properties quickly and without the stress and hassle of a traditional listing.

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