Making Sense Of Building Permits

Making Sense Of Building Permits

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Making Sense Of Building PermitsAny real estate investor worth their salt, needs a good understanding of building permits. Without an understanding of what projects require permits, which ones don’t and how you go about acquiring building permits, you are putting your profits at risk. This article examines every facet of building permits. By the end of this article, you’ll have a complete understanding of them.


What Are Building Permits?

Building permits go back as far as the first days of civilization. Without them, there is no quality control or attention to ethics and the safety of consumers. Today, they remain the standard in any building contract, regulating such things as building codes, contractors and the use of safe materials. Without building codes, there would be no control in the way a community looks and develops. Similarly, building permits also inform taxing authorities of building investments and the potential tax increases resulting from. Depending on the project, the average cost of acquiring a building permit ranges from $400 to $1,400.


What Remodeling Projects Require A Building Permit?

Each state, county and city have their own building codes. Some are customized to meet certain situations or might be slightly varied from international standards. Make sure you research building permits in your local area before any new project, as they are subject to change. The most common remodeling projects that require a building permit include the following:

  • Structural changes

  • Demolition

  • Converting garages

  • Swimming pools

  • Aesthetic changes to the exterior

  • Adding sheds and alternative structures

  • Additions to a home

  • New electrical systems

  • New roofs

  • Moving or adding outlets

  • Plumbing fixtures


What Remodeling Projects May Not Require A Permit?

Always check with your local government offices to see, if you need a permit or not. It’s always better to assume you do need one, rather than not. Just keep in mind that so long as the project is small in scale and budget there shouldn’t be a problem. But for large projects involving luxury materials, it’s better to check first before moving ahead. In general, these types of projects do not require a permit.

  • New phone lines

  • Recoating driveways

  • Installing new flooring

  • New kitchen cabinets

  • Repainting the inside or outside of the home

  • Replacing water heaters and AC units

  • Screening existing covered outdoor spaces

  • Installing new alarm systems

  • Installing new lights and fixtures


How To Get A Building Permit?

The exact process is likely to differ from one state or city to another. In general, building permits can be a hassle to acquire but you can speed up the process by having a contractor do it for you. This will cost you more but ensure that you can start on the project sooner.


Most applications for a building permit follow this pattern:

  1. Obtain the application online or in person at the building department

  2. Submit detailed plans and blueprints for the remodeling

  3. Pay the application fee

  4. Carrying out any final inspections after the work is complete


Potential Risks If You Remodel Without A Permit

Any work done without a building permit which requires one is a serious violation and could see you loosing not just what you invested, but also the property itself. The most common penalties include the following:

  • Liens against your property

  • Inability to obtain financing

  • Condemnation

  • Inability to sell the property

  • Code violations

  • Fines and daily interest penalties


It is never worth the risk of forgoing on a building permit, when you need them. Investors who are looking to quickly flip a property in less than a month, should stay away from renovations that require permits. Those who are willing to wait long or plan to lease out the property, can draw bigger profits by making good investments. Building permits are a crucial part of that, so never overlook them.

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