What do you do when you want to sell your house and it has an illegal addition done without a permit? You can still sell the house, but you have to be prepared for some hurdles. Here are the most common routes such sales take:

Get a Retroactive Permit

Depending on the type of additions you made to the house, you may be able to get a retroactive permit for them. Consult your municipality to confirm that the permits don't really exist, and then to find out if you can get them retroactively. This may involve applying for a new permit, bringing the addition up to date, and get the approval of the building department.

This is probably the best route to take if you don't want any problems from the government. However, it may be an expensive and time-consuming process (you may be penalized for the delay), and you may not even recover the investment. Therefore, get an estimate of the time and resources needed to get a permit for the additions before going down that route.

Note that you should only contact the building department if you are sure you want a retroactive permit. This is because any contact with the building department might trigger an inspection, which may thwart your plans if you weren't planning on rectifying the mistake.

Sell the House "As Is"

Another viable option is to sell the house on an "as is" basis.  The good news is that you don't have to involve the government (the building department) because you don't have to get a permit for the house or bring it up to code. This may save you some time.

The bad news is that you are legally obligated to disclose all the issues to your potential buyers. As you can imagine, this can be off putting to your buyers, and you run the risk of limiting your potential pool of buyers. In fact, expect low offers from your buyers if you have decided to go down this route. As-is sales usually attract low offers because the buyers know there is something inherently wrong with the house.

The best route for you depends on your particular circumstances. For example, selling the house as is may be best for you if you want the sale to be concluded as fast as possible. Ideally, you should sit down with your real estate agent and evaluate the pros and cons of each route before making an informed decision.