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I was told our house was 18 years old when we bought it. The date it was "built" was listed as 1998. However, the building permit was issued in 1996. What determines the date a house was built, when it was finished or when it was started?

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    For what purpose are you trying to determine the built date. I asked that question about a chateau in France and was told Well, that wall was built in the ninth century, and that tower in the early 1700s, and the moat around 1500, and ... – bib Jun 15 '16 at 18:17
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    @bib Purposes I can think of: Insurance, Real Estate, Mortgage, personal knowledge. – Programmer Jun 15 '16 at 18:30
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    Built is arbitrary. Construction can take years. Completion is a state of mind. What about the bonus room that doesn't get finished for a decade? The first certificate of occupancy gives one kind of date. Often people say this house was built circa 1975. Insurance and mortgage companies care more about an era, rather than a fixed date. – bib Jun 15 '16 at 18:35
  • @bib I kinda felt like the age was just being thrown around like a rough estimate. What about the moral implications? For example, telling prospective buyers it is 18 years old compared to 20+. Can that come back to haunt me if I use the date not on the building permit to make it seem newer? – Programmer Jun 15 '16 at 18:38
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    When a building permit is issued, there is nothing there. Many allow you a year or two to complete a project (or more). Houses are not like teenagers who get wiser between 18 and 20+. Why not say, the house was finished around 1998? – bib Jun 15 '16 at 19:31
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All of this information will be available on most county (.gov) websites through title information or deeds. They only care about when the house was titled, which as @bib has alluded to comes after a occupancy permit and a finished inspection.

It does not matter when the house first started to get built. The inspections will be done when it is done and will require everything to meet code when it is being inspected, not when the work was done. So a house started in 1980 and finished in 1990 and inspected and titled in 1990 is "built" in 1990 for all intents and purposes (given that you do not own a historical home where this information might be important).

  • "The inspections will be done when it is done and will require everything to meet code when it is being inspected, not when the work was done." If work was permitted under a specific revision of code in the plans, it may still be inspected according to that plan revision depending on locality and their specific policies, no? – statueuphemism Jun 15 '16 at 20:24
  • @statueuphemism - umm not usually unless we are talking commercial. I have been in the middle of a build and had cities switch NEC version they are abiding too along with many other mid work switches. A good inspector will forewarn you so most of the "switches" I knew were coming but in theory I could have passed through them by getting something done weeks/months earlier.... however then I might have to disclose that something doesn't meet current ordinance. – DMoore Jun 16 '16 at 4:04

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