The Importance of Building Permits

Do I need a permit? That is the magic question that home owners get to contemplate when they take on a remodeling project. I am not going to tell you what needs or doesn’t need to be permitted. For the answer to that question you need to contact the city or county planning departments in the area that you live. What I will tell you is that permits are not something that you should avoid.

Think about it. Permits allow the oversight of an expert to be certain that the work you are doing is being done correctly.

I think home owners occasionally try to avoid getting permits for two reasons and both pertain to money. The first is the cost of the permit. It simply adds to the cost of the project. The second is the potential for increased property taxes. Depending on the scope of the remodeling, the increased value of your home comes to the attention of the tax assessor and that can increase your annual property taxes. Even so, please don’t avoid getting permits to save money.

The issue of permitted remodeling is a big factor when you go to sell a home. It is one of the questions that sellers are asked to answer on the seller’s property disclosure statement. Even if the work is beautifully done to the highest standards possible, if it wasn’t permitted, it is going to become an issue when you sell the property. Buyers have easy access to public records to see if the remodeling was permitted, as do appraisers. At a class I took in Wednesday I was told by an appraiser that if remodeling wasn’t permitted then it will not be included in the valuation of the property. So that master bedroom and bathroom addition will not be included as part of the house. Or worse, if the work was done badly, the appraiser will make a note of it and then the underwriter of the buyer’s new mortgage can call for after-the-fact permitting before the mortgage company will approve the loan. It is the job of the underwriter to approve the condition of the property as collateral for the loan.

It simply makes no sense to avoid spending money in the short run simply to have it shoot you in the foot in the long run. Make certain when you do remodeling that you are getting all necessary permits. It’s the right thing to do.