I recently read the description of a house that said something like “amazing remodel! everything new – deck, windows, kitchen…” and thought “I bet that’s pretty inside.” Then I went to Fairfax County’s website because it appeared the be flip done in 3 months. Much to my surprise, all of this work had been done without ANY permits. NONE. A potential buyer could be walking into a hailstorm of paperwork and backlash from the county when they realize all of the work has been done but without county approval. Some counties are so strict, they may even require the seller to tear out everything and start over with permits. As the new buyer, would you really want to deal with that? Probably not.
It’s important to find out that things were done to code, because if the work was done without permits, how do you think the quality of the work was? hmmm….
Here’s a quick list of places to find permit history by property address. Remember that like all technology, this may not be 100% accurate if it comes up with nothing. If nothing comes up, call the county zoning office just to confirm.
Arlington County Permit Lookup
Washington DC Permit Information