ADVICE FROM YOUR REALTORS:
Do Renovations Right!
And by “right” we mean GET PERMITS and REPORT CHANGES.
1. GET PERMITS.
Did you know that for residential homes in unincorporated Buncombe County, you DON’T need a permit for:
- Non-structural work where cost is less than $15,000 in any single-family residence.
- Farm buildings outside the jurisdiction of any municipality.
- Residential accessory structures where no dimension exceeds 12 feet.
- The replacement of windows, doors and exterior siding in residential structures.
- The replacement of pickets, railings, stair treads, and decking of residential porches and exterior decks.
You DO need a permit to add a carport, shed or garage. Adding a deck or sun room also requires a permit, as do adding solar panels, a pool or making a structural repair. For a complete list of required permits and their fees, take a look HERE!
What’s the difference, you might ask?
Well, according to the Buncombe County Permitting office, the Buncombe County Permits & Inspections Department exists to protect the life, safety and welfare of its residents by administering and enforcing the North Carolina State Building Codes as adopted by the Building Code Council.
[Within the city of Asheville, the permitting requirements are a little more robust and encompassing. You can read about Asheville’s requirements HERE!]
To some people, the process can be a little intimidating, or they don’t think they need to get the permit. This could lead to issues down the road.
Here is a multiple-choice question for you:
What happens when you get a permit for renovations?
a) The inspector shows up?
b) You have to pay for the permit?
c) You have to use licensed contractors?
d) Your taxes automatically go up?
e) All of the above?
The answer is not E! Your taxes don’t automatically go up. The tax office doesn’t always know when you do renovations, even if you do get permits!
SO – are you off the hook? NOT LIKELY!
2. REPORT CHANGES.
You, as the tax payer, are required to report to the tax office when significant changes are made! And yes, your taxes will probably go up. And so, likely, will the value of your home.
As Realtors®, when we see a home that has a sizeable difference in square footage between the MLS listing and the property tax card, we are bound to investigate. If we list a home that has two bathrooms, when the tax record only shows one – we must ask, “Did you get it permitted?”
Why? Because this could become a major problem before closing for the seller, and an even bigger one after closing for the buyer!
What does this mean to you as a home buyer?
If you buy a home where there have been renovations done without the proper permits, and the county or city becomes aware, you could be required to dismantle those renovations so that inspections can take place. There could be fees and fines involved!
In addition, if the renovations changed the square footage of the home or other material items, the home could be re-appraised, with back taxes and even fines assessed as well, retroactively up to 6 years! If this happens after the property transfers to a new owner – that new owner is responsible to pay!
What about if you are selling your home?
As a homeowner who wants to sell your home, these are definitely things to consider before putting it on the market. If there are discrepancies between what the tax record shows and what actually exists in your home, you may want to let the tax office know in advance. A savvy Realtor® representing you or the buyer will notice, and it could potentially derail a contract if it came up during the buyer’s due diligence period.
WE ARE HAPPY TO HELP YOU FIGURE THIS OUT!
About Asheville Realty Group
Asheville Realty Group is a boutique brokerage firm offering full-service real estate services. We have locally experienced agents who specialize in residential homes, luxury homes, investment properties, country-side acreage and everything in between. We love Asheville and the surrounding western North Carolina mountain communities that we call home!
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