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Can You Sell a House with Code Violations?

Code violations typically occur when a property is neglected or suffers damage.

If you receive a code violation on your property and don't have the resources to take care of it, you may want to sell quickly. However, most buyers won't consider a property that doesn't comply with local codes -  even if they do, they'll try to drive the price down. 

If you want to sell a house with code violations, you have three options: bring your house up to code, negotiate a deal with buyers to pay for repairs, or sell your home as-is to a trusted home buyer. 

Here's how to sell a house with code violations in the Greater Knoxville area. 

What Are Code Violations?

A code violation indicates a building is below the usual or required housing standard and needs correction. Local housing codes set the minimum standard that all homes are required to meet to protect the health and safety of residents. 

While building codes vary by state, there are some standard housing code violations found throughout the country, including: 

  • Electrical errors 
  • Missing or broken fire alarms
  • Not having handrails installed on railings
  • Unapproved or unpermitted work
  • Bathroom exhaust fans that vent into an attic instead of outside
  • Windows in unauthorized locations
  • Defective ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)
  • Missing water heater expansion tank

In addition, the city and county code enforcement departments monitor properties for overgrown and dirty lots; this could include grass that is too tall or junk and debris within the yard. 

As a result, code violations aren't only a concern for current homeowners but potential buyers as well. Buyers should be aware of how violations from a previous owner could be passed to them. 

How to Find Out if a House Has Code Violations

The best way to determine if your house is up to code is to contact your city's inspections office. For example, if your home is in Knoxville, you'd contact the city of Knoxville's Building Permits & Inspections office

The building inspector's office will confirm whether there are cited code violations against a property. Houses with overgrown lot violations may have had the property mowed or cleaned by the codes department. In this case, the codes department will file a lien against the property to be reimbursed for the work. 

Local real estate investors like Reliant Home Buyers of TN can research a property and tell you what your next steps should be. Some homebuyers will even estimate the cost of bringing your house up to code. 

Are You Required to Bring Your House up to Code Before Selling?

Yes and no. Most homes were up to code at one point. However, because local city codes are always changing, it can be difficult for homeowners to keep up. In most places, you're only required to bring your house up to code if it could cause safety or health issues. 

Local city jurisdictions have their own requirements for bringing a house up to code before selling. For example, you may need to have handrails installed on your home's stair railings. 

Most of these ordinances are minor and inexpensive to fix. However, you or the buyer need to bring the house up to code before the final sale. Most mortgage lenders won't approve a loan for a property with major code violations. 

If you want to sell a house with code violations, consider having a home inspection done to see if issues can be easily resolved. 

What Are Examples of Code Violations?

In general, the most common code violations that require repairs include...

  • Electrical issues - A lot of older homes have outdated electrical systems. Because electrical issues are hazardous to inhabitants, most mortgage lenders require the seller to upgrade their electrical system before listing.
  • Plumbing - Faulty plumbing can lead to a variety of issues for homeowners and may even render a home unlivable. If you're selling a house with water damage, you'll need to have a home inspection done to ensure all plumbing systems are working.
  • Insects and pests - It's extremely difficult to sell a home infested with pests, as this could cause serious health and safety concerns. The seller would need to clear any pests from the property if they ever wanted to list it.

In Knoxville, homeowners have up to 120 days from the date of the correction order (violation notice) to bring their property up to code, depending on the severity of the violations. 

When the city or county records a code violation, a fee is assigned to the property. If this fee is not paid, it becomes a lien against the property. 

How to Sell a House With Code Violations 

1. Make Repairs Before Listing

Typically, if you want the highest price for your property, your best option may be to make repairs. 

While you'll need to spend money, it will be easier to sell your home once you resolve any code violations. 

As mentioned, some code violations are easy to fix. In some cases, all you may need to do is install smoke alarms outside of your bedrooms. However, if you have an electrical or plumbing issue, code violations can be expensive to mend. 

However, unless your savings or timeline allow for repairs, you may want to explore other options. 

2. Lower the Price or Offer Credit

If you can't pay for repairs but still want to list, you're required to disclose all code violations to buyers. You can also offer credit at closing or reduce your asking price. However, the difference needs to be enough to help the buyer cover repair costs. 

That said, whether you can make a sale also depends on the type of violation. If a home is unlivable, chances are traditional buyers won't make an offer. 

A home inspection is required by most mortgage lenders. If you're not honest about issues and a home inspector finds something, the buyer may walk away. Be that as it may, if the inspector misses issues, the house closes, and it's discovered later, legal action could be brought against you. 

3. Sell "As-Is" to a Home Buyer 

If your priority is to sell fast, without making repairs, selling as-is to a reliable home buyer is your best option. 

It can be challenging to find buyers willing to buy a problem property. And, in many cases, buyers aren't willing to put money into repairing a house with code violations. 

At Reliant Home Buyers of TN, we'll buy your house in any condition, including multiple code violations. We cover all closing costs for you, so you receive 100% of our cash offer! Plus, you won't have to pay realtor commissions or inspection fees, which gives you cash-in-hand to help pay off any expenses. 

We Buy Houses With Code Violations

If you live in the Greater Knoxville area and own a house with code violations, consider working with Reliant Home Buyers of TN! Our three-step home buying process is straightforward and stress-free. 

Sell Your House in Three Easy Steps!

If you want to sell your house without paying for repairs, we can help! We'll settle any liens or judgments you may have against your home. And you'll close when you want, as fast as you want. However, until you sign our one-page contract, you're free to walk away from the deal at any time. 

Give us a call or complete our online form with information about your property. Our home buyers will call back to schedule a walk-through. After this, we'll help find the best solution for your situation - whether that's buying your home or consulting you on any next steps! 

Here are a few reasons you should sell your house with code violations to us...

  • Sell your home fast - Correcting a code violation doesn't happen overnight. Whether you're selling to avoid foreclosure or because you don't want to make repairs, if your goal is to sell quickly, selling to a reliable home buyer is your best option! 
  • No repairs are needed - Repairs don't always come cheap. While violations for debris may cost a few hundred dollars, plumbing and electrical issues cost thousands! If you're trying to sell a house with foundation issues, costs could be tens of thousands of dollars or not fixable at all. Working with Reliant Home Buyers of TN ensures you can forego your list of house repairs. 
  • No fees or commissions - Monthly fees are often a consequence of code violations. If the fines go on long enough, the property may be auctioned off. Selling your house as-is to Reliant Home Buyers of TN means you don't need to worry about realtor commissions, fees, or repairs before selling. 

Need to Sell a House with Code Violations in East Tennessee?

If you want to find the best solution for your house with code violations, request a FREE cash offer from Reliant Home Buyers of TN today! 

We buy houses in the Greater Knoxville area, including...

For more information on selling a house with code violations, call 865-567-6391 today! 


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Reliant Home Buyers Of TN, Real Estate, Knoxville, TN