Does the building have a permit? | Just Ask Jan

The home we are buying has an extra little building on it. We plan to use it for an office. How do we find out if it was built legally?

Dear Jan: The home we are buying has an extra little building on it. We plan to use it for an office. How do we find out if it was built legally?  — ASB

Dear ASB: First off, it depends upon the size of the building. If an outbuilding is under 200 square feet, it does not need a Kitsap County building permit. If it is larger than 200 square feet, then you do need one.

The first place I look is on the kitsapgov.com website. In the blue bar on the right hand side is a link to Parcel Search. Click on this, then mark the box at the top for tax parcel number. Enter the number and hit enter. In a pop-up box you will see a link to DCD Permit Info.  Click on this box and it will show building permit history. I have seen it where the permit did not show up here though, so don’t give up. Call Kitsap County Community Development and ask them to search their records. Many times they are archived so it may take them a couple of days to get back to you.

If you find out there is not a permit, you may want to negotiate having the seller get it permitted, as this will come back to haunt you when you go to resell the home.

Building without a permit? Let me say this: it is not worth it!

— Jan Zufelt is an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston.