How to Sell a House With Unpermitted Work in SW Florida

How to Sell a House With Unpermitted Work in SW Florida

Before you begin a project on your home, make sure you check with the local building department. In Florida, most counties have regulations requiring you to get a permit to update or remodel your home. The easiest way to check is to go online to the county website and check with the building department. They typically list what needs a permit and what doesn’t. For example, Charlotte County Florida has a list of what does and does not require a permit. There’s quite a lot of projects that don’t need a permit, but it’s best to verify before you begin. Some examples include pressure washing, painting, low-voltage electrical installations, tiling and many others.

But if you want to add a room, install a new roof, install new windows, enclose your screened porch to heated living space, you should apply for a permit. Otherwise, when you sell, you will be at a disadvantage. You won’t be able to get credit for the improvements. When buyers find out you installed your windows or added a bedroom without a permit, the burden of the illegal upgrade becomes their problem.

Real estate agents may be the first ones to let you know. When you list your home, agents make a note of the age of the appliances, roof, water heater, air conditioner. Then, they go to the county website to verify permits. That’s when the trouble begins.

Let’s say that you bought the house in 2005 and replaced the air conditioner in 2020 yourself or with a friend who knew how to get the job done cheaply. Everything was done right, but you didn’t pull a permit because the county was going to charge you $94, which you thought was stupid to pay.

So now, you need to sell your house and any buyer will be concerned about the age of the AC. Even though it’s only a couple years old, county records will list the AC as being 16 years old, way beyond the life of the unit. Now, you have an issue.

In Charlotte County, you can get a permit, “after the fact”. A time consuming and frustrating experience to say the least. In this day and age, you’re just better off doing it the right way. Buyer ALWAYS get a home inspection, and that report is going to uncover way more information than you can ever imagine. Making upgrades without permits will kill a real estate sale in a heartbeat.

Even if you believe you and your family will live in your current home forever and these unpermitted changes will never be your problem, life can change drastically. You may suddenly find yourself selling a home under adverse. 

You’ll have to decide how to handle the unpermitted work before placing your home on the market. Should you find yourself wondering how to sell a house with unpermitted work in SW Florida, we will cover your options. No matter if you did the job or merely discovered it after buying the home yourself, having an issue with unpermitted work can be quite a blow. I’ve seen sellers have to tear down a structure because it was unpermitted.

Homes with unpermitted work carry a large amount of baggage. While the resolution to this issue may be expensive, ultimately, left unresolved, this lowers the home’s value on the SW Florida real estate market or could even turn away your buyers. 


If you are not the original owner of your home, there is a chance that you may have unpermitted work hidden from view and not even be aware. You will still be legally responsible. Some counties will allow a homeowner to seek a retroactive permit, allowing you to sell a house with unpermitted work in SW Florida.

If this is not the case, your first step will be to remove the unpermitted work and do the job again with a permit. Permits for work on homes in SW Florida under local zoning, construction, and land use laws help ensure the house is safe for habitation and is not causing harm to the environment.


While it can be disheartening and highly costly, you could remove the modification before trying to sell a house with unpermitted work in SW Florida. If you discovered the change and are not sure of what electrical, plumbing or support systems are involved, you’ll need to bring in the experts to make sure that the removal is done correctly and not compromise the structural integrity of the home. Doing it yourself should be limited to minor renovations, such as returning a garage you temporarily repurposed as an extra bedroom back to its original state, depending on what was involved. If in doubt, ask a professional.

Or you could work with our team at SWFL Homes LLC. We will make you an offer to buy as-is! SWFL Homes LLC makes it easy to sell a house with unpermitted work in SW Florida. We know that your home is the most significant investment of your life. At SWFL Homes LLC, helping you solve your problems while earning the highest return on your investment is our passion.

At SWFL Homes LLC, we stop everything and take the time to listen to your concerns. Discuss your unique situation with us, and our professionals at SWFL Homes LLC will help you compare all of your options with no obligation. Our experienced team at SWFL Homes LLC is here to help you to make the best decision to sell your SW Florida home. To learn more, contact SWFL Homes LLC at (941) 999-3163 today.

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