The good news is that buyers are excited by your home’s curb appeal, the charming interiors, and the potential that comes with the rest of the property. The bad news, however, is that your house isn’t up to code, and that could post a significant problem in your attempts to attract those buyers into making offers. Fear not, though, because code violations don’t necessarily mean selling your house isn’t possible. It just means you need to make some specific decisions in order to accomplish your goal.
One of those options is to sell your house as-is to a cash buyer who will take it off your hands quickly. But if you’d rather try to sell it on the open market, here is how to sell a house with code violations.
Selling a House with Code Violations
What Are Some Common Code Violations
Even before this situation arises, it’s good to understand what a code violation is and why you might have one. Wherever you live, there is a set of building codes that all homes and commercial buildings must adhere to. These codes cover everything from electrical safety, installation, plumbing, boilers, and safety detectors, just to name a few. The point of these codes is to protect public health as well as the general welfare and safety of anyone inside the building.
Code violations can vary widley depending on where you are, but there are some common ones that tend to come up more than others. Incorrectly placed smoke alarms is something that tends to happen a lot. If your home has a handrail that doesn’t turn at the end into a wall, thereby causing clothing to become snagged, that can be a violation. If your home is missing a ground-fault circuit interrupter (or has a faulty one), that is likely to be a violation. If one or more of your bathrooms is lacking an exhaust fan to vent air, you’re likely to get hit for not having one. And if you’re missing or have improper deck flashing to prevent wood rot, you are probably looking at a violation.
As mentioned, there are many more violations possibly in your house, but understanding the most likely trouble areas can at least get you thinking about what you need to do before you head down this road.
Be Upfront About Code Violations
First things first, if you’re going to sell a house with code violations, know that it is against the law to do so on the market without disclosing them. Failing to do so may make you responsible for all financial losses accrued by the buyer, whether they have to make the fixes themselves or they try to sell the house and are unable to get full market value for it. Honesty is always going to be the best option when it comes to code violations.
Talk to a Local Expert
If you know you have code violations, it’s a good idea to reach out to someone who can help you understand how to address those issues with buyers. Find a local Realtor or real estate agent who has dealt with code violations and has them schedule some time to meet with the violation code officer so they can explain the specifics of the compliance problem. A good agent might even be able to negotiate with the officer to get the violations sanctioned down so that you can be back in compliance without having to do repairs. Either way, you’ll come away with a very clear idea of what you need to do.
Decide What You Can Repair
If you’re stuck with the violations and the need to correct them, you’re going to have to determine what’s worth fixing. That depends on what your financial situation is as well as the specifics of each violation. Certain ones are simply a matter of doing a little bit of work, such as cleaning up a lawn, landscaping the property, draining pools, or removing shoddy paint. These aren’t just simple fixes, but they also will have a positive impact on your home’s curb appeal and value.
However, there might be violations that require a bit more effort and money. You might need to replace your hot water tank or remove a poorly installed window. You may have to strip asbestos out of the house or install handrails in places that require it. Bigger issues can include making major fixes to the home’s electrical or plumbing systems. All of these could cost a decent amount and require certain skills you don’t have. Get some estimates from local contractors or repair shops so you can get a sense of what repairs are going to be worth the effort and cost.
See if Buyers Will Negotiate
If you find yourself unable to fix all of the issues that have led to code violations, you’re not out of options yet. It might just be unreasonable to ask you to fix certain issues, including structural damage or zoning problems, so it’s possible that a motivated buyer would be willing to take care of the code violation repairs themselves. Of course, they’re going to want something in return for taking on that responsibility, and it’s likely to be a reduction in the sale price. They’ll also want to bring in an inspector to determine how much the repairs might be, so expect that to be the dollar amount at the center of negotiations.
Again, it’s just important that you are as honest and upfront as possible. Also, cover yourself by having your own inspector make an assessment about how much repairs can or should cost so you know going in what the negotiation should look like.
Sell the House As-Is
Of course, it’s very possible that no buyers will want to take a chance on your home with code violations. There are plenty of homes without these issues for them to choose from, so the chances they’ll want to invest their money in a house with significant problems is small. So if you find yourself in that situation, consider selling your house as-is to a real estate investor like Jamie Buys Houses.
Not only will they buy your house without any need for repairs, but they’ll make you a fair cash offer within days. You won’t have to pay any agent or inspection fees, and they’ll give you cash for your house. You get to walk away from the problems that are burdening you, and they’ll deal with the violations instead.
Whether you’re trying to sell a house with code violations or not, you can find out how much money you can get for your home today by contacting Jamie Buys Houses.