Information for Buyers

Buying a Single-Family Home or Duplex in South Burlington

Welcome to the City of South Burlington!

Like most other Vermont municipalities, South Burlington does not have local building codes for single family homes and duplexes The State of Vermont only regulates multi-family and commercial property. Neither the City nor State conduct any inspections (such as electrical or plumbing inspection) nor do they issue a Certificate of Occupancy for single-family houses or duplexes. Potential purchasers of existing single-family homes and duplexes, and clients of new home builders in South Burlington, have the responsibility to do their own research into the condition of the property being purchased or built.

There are several steps you can take to make sure you have the necessary information regarding the property you are purchasing, before you buy:

  • Most important, you should use the services of an independent housing inspector to prepare a written report on the condition of the property including foundation, roof, utility services, fireplaces, etc. They will give you a list of repairs to provide the seller so you can have necessary repairs made before you close, or have the cost of repairs reflected in the price. The phone book has a list of building inspectors. Price will vary based upon the detail of work requested, but money spent upfront can often prevent much more expensive work later.
  • Work closely with your attorney, your real-estate agent, and the owner-seller to make sure all known defects have been disclosed. You should be sure to get this list in writing.
  • Talk with neighbors about the property. If any neighbors have the same builder, ask them if they have had any problems, or if they are satisfied with their property. Ask them what you might look for as a potential problem.
  • Check out the Vermont Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org
  • Use “Google” and other search engines to find any online information or comments about the builder/developer. Remember, however, that the Internet is not always a reliable resource for this type of information.
  • Ask the builder for references from recent clients, and ask about other homes they have built in the area.

Remember, it is up to you to verify the condition of the property you’re buying or having built. Information about permitting and zoning compliance (846-4106) and assessment (846-4103) can be obtained from South Burlington city departments, but the City cannot make any recommendations as to the quality of a specific property.