Correcting a garage that was not permitted

8 Replies

Hi everyone!  I haven't been here in a while, forgot how good it feels!! :) :) :)

We are buying a house that has a converted garage, however it was converted without a permit because the square footage still reflects as garage on our property appraiser website and when I called the city for all the permits on the property they didn't mention any garage.

We would like to do it correctly, so obviously that means going to the city and getting a permit, and going through inspection, etc etc.  For those of you that have gone through this, what did the inspector make you do?  Tear our the drywall?

I'm trying to work on our numbers over the weekend and the city is closed so I can't call to ask the question....I come to the next best place....actually I think this is better than calling the city anyways :)

Any advice would be appreciated.

It's going to depend on the inspector and how the work was done. They certainly can ask you to remove all the drywall, but they probably won't.  You may have to remove some anyway though, if for example there aren't enough receptacles or there's no insulation or ductwork, etc.  

It's difficult when things aren't done properly to begin with but at least it's just a garage conversion..it could be worse.   Good luck!

Thanks for the response Art :)  Yes, it could always be worse!  LOL  I can deal with a garage conversion.

I've been in a similar situation where a borrower did unpermitted work, got caught, and ended up giving us the house deed in lieu.  The inspectors made us remove cabinets, cut holes in drywall, and dig a trench in a finished basement so they could inspect.  Not just the work he had done, but also work that had been done decades earlier, but without permits.

Originally posted by @Priscilla Z. :

Hi everyone!  I haven't been here in a while, forgot how good it feels!! :) :) :)

We are buying a house that has a converted garage, however it was converted without a permit because the square footage still reflects as garage on our property appraiser website and when I called the city for all the permits on the property they didn't mention any garage.

We would like to do it correctly, so obviously that means going to the city and getting a permit, and going through inspection, etc etc.  For those of you that have gone through this, what did the inspector make you do?  Tear our the drywall?

I'm trying to work on our numbers over the weekend and the city is closed so I can't call to ask the question....I come to the next best place....actually I think this is better than calling the city anyways :)

Any advice would be appreciated.

They just want to inspect the unpermitted work that is all. If you added drywall, then they need to be removed, etc. I had one contract cost them like 5k, someone converted it into living space, so we had to demo cabinets, countertops, cancel electrical and cap plumbing. Basically we converted it back to a garage with working garage doors for the new owner to convert it back again once it is sold. Ha!

I'm a plumbing contractor here in Oregon, so it might not be the same. First, they will probably make you get a permit, then what they do here is to make us go out and inspect what parts are visible on the plumbing. If it really looks bad on the visible plumbing, they usually have us dig dipper into it, such as cutting drywall etc. Sometimes we can crawl under the house and check the plumbing that way as well. Sounds like yours is probably under the slab though and not able too. The inspectors could make you camera the sewer line though to at least get an idea of how the sewer was run. The sewer side of the plumbing is the one you want to make sure was done as close to right as possible. The water side isn't as big of deal, as long as the hot is on the left and cold is on the right., it will usually work.  Good luck. I guess I should of asked you if any plumbing was involved.

Thanks for the responses everyone.  Apparently our inspector would want an engineer to give a report on it and an AC person to do an analysis, and then pull permits and get it inspected.  Thinking about just leaving it as is....any advice?

My concern is that if it's a fourth bedroom but the square footage of the garage is not recorded in the property appraiser website then it may not be counted as a bedroom in the appraisal?  Am I correct on this?

No plumbing, just drywall, electrical outlets and AC vent.

Originally posted by @Priscilla Z. :

Thanks for the responses everyone.  Apparently our inspector would want an engineer to give a report on it and an AC person to do an analysis, and then pull permits and get it inspected.  Thinking about just leaving it as is....any advice?

My concern is that if it's a fourth bedroom but the square footage of the garage is not recorded in the property appraiser website then it may not be counted as a bedroom in the appraisal?  Am I correct on this?

No plumbing, just drywall, electrical outlets and AC vent.

You shouldn't count it as the 4th bedroom, and you should deduct the cost "in case" you need to change the garage-bedroom back to a garage if city inspector catches something.  Some tenants or owners are generous enough that they donate their time to call the city and post an anonymous complaint in your behalf right after you finish the sale, especially if they got kicked out or they are not happy in selling the house.

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