The Importance of Renovation Permits


The internet is ripe with advice on do it yourself home improvement projects. These projects are not only fulfilling, but they also can help you to save a considerable amount of money when looking to improve upon any part of your home. Before starting on any new project though, it is important to remember that some of these projects will require you to obtain a renovation permit, even if you are doing the work yourself.

Prior to starting any type of project, the first step you must take is to plan out exactly what you intend to do. Next, you should get an estimate of the costs involved in the materials, and compare it to the cost of hiring a contractor or other home improvement professional. More importantly, check to see if the work you intend to do requires a renovation permit. If it does, you will need to get the necessary permit prior to beginning any work.

Where do You Get One

Admittedly, getting a permit isn't always the easiest thing to do, and there is some hassle involved in the process of obtaining a renovation permit. In order to get one, you must contact your local municipality and provide it with detailed plans of the planned renovation. In some cases, you will also be asked to provide additional documentation, which you must be able to bring upon request.

To ensure that you follow the renovation plans, an inspector will regularly check on your progress throughout the process. It is important that you stick to your plan not only to ensure that the inspector is satisfied, but also to make sure that everything is implemented smoothly. Though it takes some time and energy, properly obtaining a permit is much better than the alternative.  

The good news about obtaining a permit is that smaller projects can often be approved in as little as 24 hours. If you have a large project you are undertaking, it may take longer, but overall you can get started quickly. If you have to wait, take the time to purchase the necessary materials and prepare the best plan.

Who Should Purchase One

Of course, not every project you undertake will need a renovation permit, so it is important to know which types of projects do and do not need them. Obviously, a major renovation such as adding onto the home requires a permit, but there are a lot of areas you may not know about that require one as well. Some of these other areas include:

  • Finishing basements
  • Updating plumbing
  • Updating electrical equipment
  • Constructing a deck
  • Adding a wood burning stove or other similar items.

There are other projects that need these permits as well, especially anything that affects a load-bearing wall or changes windows or doors. On the other hand, there are some areas of the home that do not generally require permits. Those areas include:

  • Re-roofing
  • Painting jobs
  • Re-siding
  • New flooring installation
  • New cabinet installation
  • Basic replacement of windows or doors

Overall, anything that does not change the overall structure or function of your home falls into this category. When in doubt always check with your local municipality and visit its website for information regarding building permits in your area. If demolition is something you are considering, always check with your local authority to determine whether or not you are required to get a permit. Also consider consulting a real estate lawyer if you need more detailed guidance.

Why You Need to Get One

It is considered important that real estate information remain current and up to date. For taxes, insurance, and for future resale, any changes that are made need to be recorded and tracked. This helps to maintain the proper home value and benefits you as much as it keeps your local municipality in the know. The reality is that renovation permits are in place so that everyone keeps up with the latest health and safety standards.

More importantly, building permits ensure that jobs are done right and keep you from having to pay expensive fines. If there is a disaster that occurs, your insurance company will know what condition the home was in after the renovation and your policy will deal with the issue accordingly. When the time does come for you to sell the house, any changes you made will also need to be supported by renovation permits.

Should you fail to obtain permits, the value of your home could be reduced considerably, especially if safety issues are brought into concern. Even worse, you could be fined at this point and still have to pay for the fixes to be made.

The Consequences of Not Having One

For the most part, the legal consequences of not getting a renovation permit may not seem that bad, mostly consisting of various levels of fines. On the other hand, they can be much more severe. The worst case scenario is that you can actually be required to undo the renovations that you just spent time and money on. This would all be on your dollar, which means that you would be spending a considerable amount of money.

Beyond the potential legal trouble though, you must also consider the other issues that might arise after undertaking a renovation with a permit. One potential challenge that can arise comes from your insurance company. The truth is, a renovation can affect your home owner's insurance policy to begin with, but without getting a permit you put yourself at greater risk.

Finally, consider the potential damage that some renovations can have on your home if not implemented properly. For this reason, renovation permits are as much for your safety as they are to make sure everything remains on record. An improper renovation can result in serious problems, especially if electrical or plumbing changes are involved.

Never Forget the Permit

Always remember that prior to any home renovation you need to consider whether or not a permit is necessary. If it is, don't delay and make sure that you get the permit before starting on any of the work. Getting a renovation permit doesn't just save you the hassle of legal repercussions, but it also ensures that your work is done safely.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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