The latest from Lili about Boston Real Estate.

Boston Luxury Real Estate Building Additions Without a Permit

May 3, 2014 |

Living in historically designated neighborhoods like the Back Bay, Beacon Hill or the South End, means home owners must follow strict guidelines to preserve the historic nature of their Boston luxury homes. It’s safe to assume that any changes made to the exterior of the building - front or back - must have the architectural approval of that neighborhood.

Strict Architectural Guidelines for Boston Luxury Homes’ Exterior
The architectural commission of the Back Bay and Beacon Hill are stricter than other areas and have jurisdiction on the front and rear of the buildings. Any changes to the façade, fenestration, railing, paint color, adding roof decks and / or garage space must go through the approval process. Home owners can’t assume by right of property ownership that they can do anything they want. Ultimately, it will cost double to build without proper approval, dismantle the renovations and re-build to existing structure.

Some Boston luxury home owners of small or large properties in the historic neighborhoods don’t have the patience to wait and obtain appropriate approvals, and they hire a contractor that’s not knowledgeable about the approval process. I’ve seen home owners build additions to their roof, or build a roof deck, only realize that it was done illegally and they need to tear it down.

In some cases, even if there has been no precedent, a good architect/designer can propose a compelling plan to convince the board to approve the addition or other exterior changes. In other cases, they make concessions in order to get what they want. So, do your homework before renovating and get the right advice.

Recently, there was a case involving a very high end property where the owner had exceeded the limit of what he could do without a permit. Once the property was for sale, the buyer’s attorneys required documentation of exterior work which was not sufficient. Needless to say, the Boston luxury real estate sale fell through and the seller found himself in a position that required him to correct a very costly mistake.

Contact me if you need a contractor referral or want advice on historic home renovation and resale value.


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