While a sunroom may look dreamy and enticing to you as a new homeowner, be aware of all that is involved in purchasing a home that already has a sunroom in place.There are many laws, rules, and regulations to having a sunroom depending on what part of the country you live in, so it is important to make sure that you are familiar with those laws.
Certificates of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy is a legal paper stating that an addition or change to an existing structure is in accordance with codes and other such laws for a certain building – in this case your home.
Without a proper certificate of occupancy for an existing sunroom, you may be looking at some lengthy paperwork and even fees and fines, as well as visits from an inspector. If for any reason, the certificate of occupancy does not go through for a sunroom that is already in existence, there may be a chance that the homeowner may have to remove it before the house is sold.
So, if one of the selling points for you as a buyer was that sunroom, be sure to ask first before you go ahead and put down a deposit and get your heart broken.
Building Permits, Sunrooms, and Energy Efficiency
Again, knowing whether or not the house you intend to purchase requires a permit or certificate of occupancy takes a little more than just inquiring of the homeowner. Have the real estate agent you are working with give you the name of the town department for building code or whatever entity is responsible for such matters. Have them double check whether or not the sunroom is up to code, there is a permit, and look into the energy efficiency of the sunroom as well.
Energy efficiency is important, as there will be different types of permits for different types of spaces. Homes today are required to have a certain energy performance and the addition of a sunroom may hamper that energy rating performance.
Again, checking with your local building department will get you the information you need before purchasing your new home.
So while it may look attractive and appealing to the eye, a sunroom may have some hidden issues that you will need to investigate with your local building department before going ahead and signing on the dotted line.
If you are not using a real estate agent, make a few phone calls to the area’s local building department and obtain the information. Be sure to ask for the name and number of the person you are speaking to, or, even better, an email from them to you offering whatever information is important to know before purchasing a home with an existing sunroom.