When I listed my summer home for sale, the realtor said I would have to take a huge loss. Why? Because I did not get Building Permits when contractors installed a central air conditioning system, additional fuse boxes, electrical wiring and new copper plumbing throughout. Since the contractors told me Building Permits were not required, I did not bother to apply for them.
The realtor said, “It’s too late now! Wish you had gotten those building permits because you will never be able to recover your investment for those improvements. In fact,” he said, “We’re going to have a really hard time even trying to sell this house.” He explained, “The perception is, lacking critical inspection approvals, this house will be considered unsafe and could even be a fire trap”. I said, “Let me see if I can get those Building Permits.” The realtor laughed out loud and looked at me like I was deranged. He said, “It’s impossible! None of your construction work can be inspected because it’s all buried behind the walls, completely inaccessible!”
He kept laughing, shaking his head and said, “You know, working with the city is hard enough! But you’ll never get a picky Building Inspector to approve work he can’t even see! And just wait ‘til he finds out that you did all of this work nine years ago!” I wish I had made a bet with the realtor. Here’s what I did.
I asked the city clerk to tell me who does most of the plumbing inspections for Ernie Polinski. She looked it up and said, “That would be Zeek Zelinak.” So, we scheduled a plumbing inspection with Zeek Zelinak. When he came out, I showed him a few before and after pictures of the plumbing work, along with Ernie Polanski’s invoices.
Just as I thought, these two guys are very good friends and have been fishing buddies for years. The Inspector smiled and said, “I’ll approve any work Ernie did because he’s a perfectionist! You can put a level on any pipe in your house and I guarantee you it will be perfect.” One by one, I simply specified those particular inspectors who approved most of the jobs my contractors did. They all knew each other personally and respected each other professionally. I got each and every one of those Building Permits approved! I also got $225,000 more for my summer home. The realtor, who has become a lifelong friend, said he has told this unbelievable story at least a thousand times!
(See “Thinking Outside of the Sand Box” on Page 4)