Are you ready to put your property on the market? You might want to double check this list of government conditions first!

When you decide you’re ready to sell your home, you dedicate time and effort to ensure that the carpets are clean, and that your home makes the best possible impression on a buyer. But, save some time to take care of this crucial yet easily forgotten task: checking with your local government to ensure that it has the correct information on your property.

Whether your home is a three story suburban mansion or a one bedroom condo, local government records will have additional details and documents on it. Problems with those records on your home can stall the sale, or even derail the deal completely. So, make sure everything is accurate before you list your home by following these tips.

The building department

Your local building department retains records on every issued building permit and constructed building within its locality. A building inspector confirms that modifications made to a property meet current building code and work was completed by licensed contractors.

They also ensure that your property meets health and safety regulations. Whenever a permit application is made, the building department sends an inspector out to confirm that the work has been completed correctly.

How do government records affect home sellers?

Prior to making an offer, many buyers check with the local government to see if the listing information matches local records. When a buyer discovers an issue, such as an open permit that was applied for never officially closed out, they usually remove that home from consideration.

It’s common for sellers to discover that during their property’s lifetime a mistake was made and an inspection was never completed. The mistake could belong to the contractor that completed the work, the previous owner of the property, or even the building department itself.

Issues like these cause big headaches for owners wanting to sell their home. Since the new owner is responsible for unregulated work, it pays to resolve these issues up front.

Assessor records and taxes

An assessor observes the local real estate market and, for the purpose of tax value, identifies if your property’s value is in line with the market.

If the market slows, the assessor will not automatically lower the value of your property. However, they regularly go through permits issued by the building department and increase your home’s value if any recent improvements have occurred. This means higher property taxes.

Your property may be over or under assessed. If it’s over, you should contact your assessor with records that support your case for decreased market value. Every local government has a system in place to deal with assessment grievances.

Staying one step ahead

Before listing your home, check the available government records on the property. Some issues, such as an open permit, are easily fixed. If it’s a more serious issue, delay listing your property until you resolve it. Solving these types of problems ahead of time prevents any surprises from coming up later that could derail a sale.

Local Building and Development Offices

Loudoun County:
Fairfax County:
Clarke County: