Report of Residential Building Record (RBR)

To apply for your Resale Inspection online click HERE! 

A Residential Resale Report  is a building permit records check and physical inspection of all residential units.  Most jurisdictions in Marin County require a Point of Sale inspection on residential properties.  Our report will list all building permits on the report.  For any permits that have expired or are not complete;  they will require follow up.  Additionally we will list all planning actions and construction related code enforcement cases.

The primary purpose of the inspection is to verify that any modifications or improvements which may have been made to the structure(s) on the property are in conformance with State and local building codes and zoning ordinances, and were constructed with permits. 

Single Family Dwelling:   $290.00 (Duplex Dwellings $580.00)
Condominiums: $255.00
Apartments: $270.00 for the first unit; ($30.00 each additional unit)

Fees can be paid for by Check or Credit Card online

Apply for a Residential Resale Report

Once your application is received an inspector will contact you within 7-10 working days to schedule a specific day and time for your inspection.   Please apply early to allow for scheduling time.  Resale Reports can be applied for online with check or credit card,  or if you would prefer you can also mail in an application along with a check

Please note:  If you wait to apply for your Resale Inspection the Department  may not be able to accommodate escrow deadlines, Please apply for your inspection early!

You also have the option to order your report in person, Monday - Thursday from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. by dropping by the 3rd floor Building Counter at City Hall; 1400 5th Avenue.

What will our Building Inspector be looking for?

The purpose of the inspection is to make sure that any new construction, modifications, or improvements which may have been made to the property are in conformance with State and local building codes and zoning ordinances, and were constructed with permits.    

Permits for the following items may be obtained at the Building Division Public counter in City Hall anytime during regular business hours. If these permits are obtained and the inspection approval granted within 15 days of the issuance of this report, no enforcement action will be taken by the City. Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a Notice.

  • Replacement water heater
  • Replacement furnace
  • Electrical: Main service upgrade
  • Window replacements/exterior door replacements

The following sorts of violations typically require plans & review.  Many of these types of issues can be handled through our Over-the-Counter permit process on Tuesday & Thursday mornings.  More complex matters may need a Submittal Application.  Contact the Building Division at 415-485-3367 for further information.

  • Work done without a permit (for example):
    • 2nd dwelling unit
    • Accessory structure or building w/o permit
    • Decks
    • Garage/Basement/Attic Conversion
    • Hot tub / spa installation
    • Kitchen/ Bath remodel
    • Retaining walls - new or replacement
  • Any EXPIRED permits must be renewed and inspected

Frequently Asked Questions

A Residential Resale Report is a building permit records check and physical inspection of any residential units (SFD, Duplex, Townhouse/Condo, Apartment complexes) which are sold in San Rafael.  All building permits, planning actions, and construction-related code enforcement actions are listed on the report.  Any permits which are not complete or have expired are identified; these typically must be followed up on.  The physical inspection is done to ensure that the permit record is consistent with what is present on the property, in order to identify any illegally constructed elements which may be potentially hazardous or unsanitary.  The resale report is typically requested by the seller, and a copy of the report is required to be provided to the buyer, who signs a statement verifying receipt.

Residential Resale Reports are required when any residential property changes ownership. This includes Single Family Homes, Duplexes, Apartment Buildings and Townhouses/Condominiums.  There are a few exceptions, such as the first sale of a new home and the sale of mobile homes.

  1. The applicant will need to apply and pay a fee. This may be done at City Hall 8:30-4:30 M-Th; 8:30-1:30 on Friday, or by filling out an online application and mailing it in with a check; or applying online if paying by credit card.
  2. Our staff will research all Building Permits, Planning files, and Code Enforcement records that pertain to the property.
  3. An inspection of the property is performed by our staff.  Within seven (7) business days following the receipt date of the application, a staff member will call the owner (seller) or their representative to schedule a date and time for the City inspection.
  4. We issue a written report, which is posted on our website.
  5. Potential follow-up by the city for any identified unpermitted work.

All the Cities and Towns in Marin County have ordinances requiring resale reports.  However, the unincorporated areas of Marin County do not require resale reports.

A resale report must be requested and completed prior to the close of escrow. It is important that you obtain a resale report as early in the sale process as possible so that a completed report will be available to you in a timely manner.   This will also allow sufficient time to resolve any identified problems or issues to be addressed well before the property is in escrow.

All resale reports are effective for 6 months, and may be extended for an additional 3 months upon written request by an authorized representative. Thereafter, a new inspection and report will be required.

On the average, you will be contacted within 7 business days, and the inspection will usually be performed within 10 business days from the time we are able to schedule the appointment.

Our goal is to provide the completed report within 3 business days after the inspection.

A responsible adult must be present to accompany the inspector and provide access. This can be the buyer; seller; or agent for either; tenant; or any other person over the age of 18 with a legal right to be there.  The inspection usually takes 20 – 30 minutes for most properties; but please allow 45 minutes.

The primary purpose of the inspection is to verify that any modifications or improvements which may have been made to the structure(s) on the property are in conformance with State and local building codes and zoning ordinances, and were constructed with permits, inspected, and completed.

For a checklist of the most commonly identified items, please review the Resale Inspection Checklist.

Fee Schedule Effective January 19, 2017:

Single Family Dwelling:          $290.00 (Duplex Dwellings $580.00)

Condominiums:                       $255.00

Apartments:                             $270.00 for the first unit, $30.00 each additional unit

All Reports are posted on our website, and are downloadable as a PDF document. Instructions on navigating to those records can be found online.

The City does not have the authority or the desire to hold up the sale of the property.  However, if the property is conveyed, any required actions, permits, fees, or penalties will become the legal responsibility of the buyer.

If you believe we have omitted information in the report, please contact the Permit Services Coordinator at 415-485-3096 to discuss. If you dispute the findings of the inspector regarding illegal construction, or have additional information to provide to refute some finding in the report, you may file an appeal, in writing, addressed to the Community Development Director, along with a $100 appeal fee.  This appeal must be filed within 5 working days of the date the report is posted on line.  You will receive a written response within 10 working days.  The determination of the Director is final.

Unfortunately, there are no exemptions or exceptions for short sales.

If you cannot make the scheduled appointment, please call the Resale Inspector at 415-458-5337; at least 24 hours prior to the appointment to cancel and/or reschedule. Missed appointments may be subject to a re-inspection fee.

If you have not yet scheduled the inspection, we can refund 80 % of the fee. If we have already done the research and inspection, you will not be entitled to a refund.  However, the report is still good for 6 months.  When requesting a refund, please call 415-485-3367 and one of the Building Permit Technicians will assist you.

Once the property has sold and you have a buyer’s signature on the “Return Receipt and Buyer’s Certification”, also include a “RBR Refund Request form” and mail or email it back to us.  You will have 60 days from the time of sale to request a refund.  The refund will not be processed until a properly executed buyer’s receipt is received.  The refund check will be made out to the payee only (This is the person who paid for the Resale Permit at the time of application) and mailed to the address provided on the RBR Refund Request form.

If the unpermitted work existed prior to your ownership, and was not disclosed in a prior resale report, you will still be required to resolve the issue through the issuance of retroactive permit(s), but the city will waive all normal permit fees and penalties. If the unpermitted work was identified in a previous resale report, or code enforcement action, the matter will be treated as though it was a current violation and normal permit fees and penalties may be assessed.

A demo permit will still be required to abate the issue, and normal fees and penalties may be assessed. In some cases, plans may be required to document what was done, and any remedial work required to bring the structure back to its previous state.

RBR Update

On August 1, 2016 the City Council held a study session to review options for the City’s residential building resale (RBR) program. The City Council decided to reconvene on the issue in about a month to solicit further input. The date will be posted here once it's scheduled. Check out the PowerPoint and summary of options from the meeting!

Additional Resources:

Residential Building Record Ordinance 1945
Residential Building Record Resolution 14243
Resale Inspection Checklist
RBR Most Common Issues
RBR Sample Report

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