My Home Inspector Blog: The issue of 'Open Building Permits'

The issue of 'Open Building Permits'

A permit check should always be done when buying a home. Here's some great advice from Dan Phillips, a Realtor in Eureka, CA. Thanks Dan! Please go leave a comment on Dan's original post.

One of the suggestions I make to buyers is to check with the Building and Planning Department to see if there are any "open" permits on a property they are considering purchasing.

An "open" permit could prevent another permit from being issued for the property: say to replace a roof. 

If there is an "open" permit on the property, one in which the final inspection has not been completed, the clients could be subject to big expenses if they purchase the home.

In order for an inspector to check the quality of plumbing or electrical work, new drywall may have to be removed.  This can be expensive.  There may be additional permit fee's because the inspections were not completed on time.

My experience in this area has always been that the Building and Planning Departments are a buyers good friend!


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Comment balloon 4 commentsSteve Stenros • September 27 2011 05:48PM



An excellent post for a reblog. Seems there are lots of situations out there involving permits or lack of, although I have not yet run into an open permit situation...yet.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) about 6 years ago

Yeah, Jeff, there are quite a few unpermitted additions, modifications, renovations out there!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 6 years ago

Good Morning Steve, thank you for the re-post!  It is appreciated!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) about 6 years ago

We always suggest getting a "permit history" which would also provide the "open permit" copy but it also has all of the items ever permitted on this home. Most of our counties in CA didn't start requiring permits till the 1950's. It is a nice blog post to re-post and if you hadn't done that I would have missed it altogether. Thanks for doing it.

Posted by Mike Young, FHA 203k Consultant 916-758-1807 (, covering California & most other states) about 5 years ago