Building and Remodeling Permits

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If you are remodeling or adding on to your home, you will be required to obtain a building permit from your local building department. Permits take time and do cost money so you need to budget that into your remodeling costs. You should consult with a licensed contractor before starting your remodeling project.

What is a building permit?

A building permit signifies that your building meets local city, county and state building construction laws and is a safe structure. Building permits protect everyone against unsafe buildings.  In order to obtain a permit or your contractor will have to submit plans and apply for the permit. There are fees involved, and the process takes some time.

Is a Building Permit always Required?

Yes, you need a building permit. You should consult with the building department as well as a contractor.  You may also need approval from other departments besides the building department such as environmental, fire, water, sewer or redevelopment depending on where your property is located and what you are planning to do with the property.  There may also be zoning and use issues involved and variances that you might need.  It is recommended that you work with a zoning company if you have any zoning issues as these are quite complicated.

What happens if I do not obtain a permit?

You may be subject to penalties or fines for not obtaining a permit. If you are in the process of remodeling and you are caught, you will have to stop the work until you obtain a permit which could cause delays and a lot of hassles and extra money.

Also, the local tax appraiser’s office may discover your extra sq. footage when they are reappraising the homes in the neighborhood.  This could cause property tax problems, penalties and interest on back taxes that you would owe based upon the extra sq. footage.

Even if you do not get caught and finish the work without obtaining a permit, you must disclose the fact that additions were added or remodeling was done without permit when you go to sell your home. This could affect the price and the property appraisal. If you have added sq. footage and did not get a permit, it won’t be included in the tax records.  This could mean that there is a possibility that the home would not appraise at the sales price when the buyer goes to get a loan.  As a result, the buyer may have to put down a larger down payment to obtain the loan, or they may ask you for a price reduction or walk away entirely from the deal.

Also, your insurance company may not cover you if someone is injured on the property, and you don’t have a permit. It is always recommended that you obtain a building permit.

Building plans

1. Obtain design with jurisdiction codes applied
2. Submit for approval          

You will need to hire an architect who will draw up structural plans for your design that meet your jurisdictions building codes. These plans will need to be submitted to the local building and safety planning commission first for approval before your permit will be approved and issued. There are generally fees involved.  You will need to check with local building permit office to find out what the costs will be.

Lawyers for Building and Remodeling Permits

Most states require building permits for any types of fixture to be permanently placed on real property. Trying to circumvent this process is not smart because it can cause you delays, extra fines and fees.   It is wise to consider consulting a Real Estate attorney if you feel your rights to build are being hampered. Guidelines offered can be confusing. There are also Real Estate lawyers who specialize in construction law.

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