Do You Need A Building Permit To Remodel?

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Real Estate Agent with Realty Austin 0520742

building permit requires that your plans are certified and all work has to be inspected. It is required by law, to ensure public health and safety, that you obtain building permits before doing any additional building onto your home or property. And, because it is a legal and safety issue, it is highly recommended that homeowners don’t cut corners on obtaining the correct building permit for their project.

The Uniform Building Code is the system that will give out or deny permits based on whether a proposed project plans to use approved construction techniques and building materials. The system is in place to protect public health and safety, and it does so by requiring sound, durable, built-to-code construction materials and techniques. Almost all municipalities require homeowners to obtain a building permit to remodel or change the structure of anything on their land. Some municipalities are more strict than others and may require a permit for something as small as installing a new toilet or adding a fence to your yard, so it is important that you check with your building department before doing any sort of remodeling work-just to be safe.

Obtaining a Permit

  1. Visit your local building or planning department. Here you will need to fill out various forms and submit a building plan (in most cases).

  2. Smaller projects may only require paperwork and/or a description of the work you want to do.

  3. If your plan complies with the codes of your area, the department will issue a permit for a fee.

  4. From here, you should expect that building inspectors will perform inspections during the work and/or upon the completion of the project. The inspectors are there to make sure that your structure/remodel is in compliance with all building codes and that proper construction material and techniques are (or were) used.

The Dangers of Not Obtaining a Permit

Before you decide whether or not it’s worth the gamble to not obtain a building permit, read the following

  • Illegally building/working on the structure of your home will typically result in very high fines if the building department finds out.

  • If you build illegally, the department can require you to tear down/remove the structure, and the cost to rebuild can be staggeringly high.

  • Neighbors who are unhappy with the construction noise or process can call the building department and report you.

  • Alterations aren’t covered in the home inspection process, and if you aren’t able to produce a permit for work you’ve done, potential buyers may be inclined to retract their offer.

  • If buyers do not back out at the home inspection stage of the transaction, they may choose to later when your home is being appraised. Bloggers at Realtor.com warn, “In many cases: No permits, no loan”, which can definitely scare buyers off.

  • Building illegally can negatively affect your ability to remodel/build on to your home later. If you choose to apply for a permit for something else down the road, a building official could come across the illegal work done before and then could “red tag” your job, which would require  you to stop all work on the project.

  • If an inspector suspects illegal building work, s/he may order follow-up inspections to make a determination on the validity of the work, the cost of which would fall on the homeowner.

  • If your work is determined to have been done illegally, you have to legalize the project before you’re allowed to sell the home. In many cases, the work must be undone, which can be costly and time consuming.

  • If you are able to sell the house without obtaining a proper permit for your work, you could still pay the price. If buyers discover work that was completed without a permit and the building department refuses to approve the work, the value of your home may drop and become a huge legal issue for you. Realtor.com says, "Any difference in value based on what was not permitted at the time of sale, becomes a point of litigation".

So, while obtaining a permit for remodeling or building onto your home may add time and money to your project, it could end up costing you dearly in the long run. Think before you remodel and always be sure to check if a permit is needed before starting any home improvement project.

 

Read the original article from Realtor.com here.

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