How To Sell a House With Un-permitted Work in Indianapolis

How to Sell a House With Unpermitted Work in Indianapolis

Have you been considering making alterations to your home? If so, it will really pay off to make sure the work is properly permitted if required by law to avoid any legal consequences, which are usually far more complicated than the process of getting the permit in the first place.  While you may believe you and your family will live in your current home forever and any un-permitted changes will never be your problem, life can change at the drop of a hat. If you take the approach of doing un-permitted renovations on your home, you may suddenly find yourself needing to sell a house under adverse conditions of your own making. 

If you have had un-permitted work, you’ll have to decide how to handle the potential issues related to it before placing your home on the market. Should you find yourself wondering how you can sell a house with un-permitted work in Indianapolis, we will cover your options. Regardless of whether you did the job or merely discovered it after buying the home, having an issue with un-permitted work can be quite a blow emotionally and highly costly as you face the realities of disclosure during the selling process. Even if your buyer knows about the un-permitted work before the sale, they could still pursue legal avenues after the fact. Failure to disclose the un-permitted work could result in your paying legal fees and court costs – AND the cost for your buyer’s contractor to correct the issues.

Homes modified through un-permitted work carry a large amount of baggage. While the resolution to this issue may be expensive, ultimately, left unresolved, this baggage lowers the home’s value on the Indianapolis real estate market, could even turn away your buyers and if found later could result in even higher costs for you. 


If you are not the original owner of your home, there is a chance that you may have un-permitted work hidden from view and not even be aware. When it comes to disclosure, ignorance is not truly bliss. You will still be legally responsible if you sell a house that has un-permitted renovations or repairs. It pays to have a professional conduct a home inspection before listing your home yourself or on the Indianapolis real estate market through a traditional MLS listing with an agent. If your home inspector (or you) finds potentially un-permitted work, your first step will be to determine if you must remove the un-permitted work and do the job again with a permit or if your locale provides other methods of having the structure retroactively permitted and inspected. Permits for work on homes in Indianapolis under local zoning, construction, and land use laws help ensure the dwelling is safe for habitation and is not causing harm to the environment. Depending on the work’s complexity and the value gained by going through the process, it may be your best option to tackle the issue and take corrective action.  You can find out more about specific permitting requirements, fees and other regulations by doing a quick internet search for Indianapolis building permits or building department. You could also find a more general list of construction items that may require a permit here.

Corrective Steps

You can always sell a house to 317 Home Buyers without correcting the un-permitted work, but if you decide that you’re going to undertake the corrective construction process yourself, there are some things you need to think about. First, you would be well served to contact architects and contractors for estimates and guidance on the permitting and inspections required and timeline expected to resolve any issues and complete the project. What may seem like a simple job to you could very well end up with complex drainage studies, architectural plans or designs, and other peculiar permitting requirements which you would never dream of (Ask us how we know!). These professionals will also know of any delays currently being experienced by the Indianapolis building department and any peculiarities with regard to how the inspectors or admin staff like to see things done. Many contractors also make their construction schedules several weeks in advance, which could mean they can’t start your project for quite some time. Then again, you’ll need to account for the cost of all of these things. Permits aren’t free, architects and contractors don’t work for free, and you’ll have to account for the cost to hold the house during the construction as well. Planning on going it alone and doing the work yourself? Yes, you’ll probably save some money but you’ll still pay for a lot of the same things and likely have a much longer timeline to work through since you don’t have any pre-existing relationships with the building department, inspectors, and you’ll be doing the work yourself. Also, make sure you visit the website for the Indianapolis building permits and familiarize yourself with everything – yes everything – that you’ll need to do to get the permitting done right. Correcting the un-permitted work on your house can be quite an undertaking, and shouldn’t be approached lightly.


While it can be disheartening and highly costly, you could simply remove the modification before trying to sell a house with un-permitted work in Indianapolis. If you discovered the change and are not sure of what electrical, plumbing or support systems are involved, it would be best to call in experts to ensure that the removal will be done correctly and not compromise the underlying or attached structure. You may be able to save money by doing the demolition and disposal yourself to return your home to its original state but beware – you may need a demolition permit just to remove the un-permitted work. If in doubt, ask a professional.

As we said earlier, another option you have is to work with us at 317 Home Buyers. We will make you an offer to sell your house quickly as-is! 317 Home Buyers makes it easy to sell a house with un-permitted work in Indianapolis. We know that your home is the most significant investment of your life. Helping you solve your problems while earning the best possible return on your investment is our passion.

At 317 Home Buyers, we take the time to listen to you. Discuss your unique situation with us, and we will help you compare all of your options with no obligation. We are here to help you to make the best decision to sell your Indianapolis home. To learn more, contact 317 Home Buyers at 317-623-4734 today.

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