Garage conversion w/out permit

2 Replies

I am looking to buy this duplex in WA and found out during due diligence that the garages of both units were converted into bedrooms in the 90s. This conversion was done without proper permitting and approvals from the city and obviously the additional bedrooms are not showing in the county records. I called the city and they recommended to get the conversion inspected and make necessary changes/repairs to bring it up to code where needed to make the conversion permanent. Apparently I will not be exposed to penalties or fees since I was not the one who made the conversion back then. I’m not quite sure how to think about the situation. Should I go ahead and buy the duplex (assuming the seller agrees to a price reduction) or this is way too risky to pursue. What are your experiences with similar situations?

I bought a 97 year old duplex with one permit on file, for a deck...  Speaking from experience, for one thing, it really depends on what city you're in and the code inspector that you get.  If you get someone that demands to see all the wiring and pipes they will demand holes get cut in the drywall for visual inspection.  Whatever they find that's not up to their requirement has to be repaired or ripped out and redone.

The risks will be all on you if this is done after closing, so if you go that route get as large a discount as you can.  Worst case scenario factor in the cost to completely redo the conversion, or rip it out and convert back to garages might be cheaper, take that amount off your offer price.

Thanks Tyler. Sellers will not fix it. If I move forward with the deal I will take on the risk. I followed your advice and I am getting an estimate from my contractor for worst case scenario (full rebuild of the space) and will factor that into the offer.

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