But, but, but...permits!?! That's certainly the way I feel sometimes!
Generally the answer is YES, you have to pull permits for structures, BUT there are many things that do not need to be permitted. For instance, in Mohave County any structure without power or water to it under 300 sq ft does not need to be permitted. Also, certain agricultural zoning loopholes allow additional type of structures to NOT be permitted such as barns hay storage etc. For the simple reason of “resale value” I always coach my clients into permitting what they should. This makes their property easier and less costly to sell in the future - when a buyer is hung up on the permit issue.
The septic on a property – any septic MUST be permitted.
Many years ago in Mohave county it was misunderstood that the only permit required was the septic permit, so we still run across properties with residential homes, barns, storage bldgs., garages, workshops etc. and so on and the only permit for the entire built-out property is the septic permit. The misunderstanding was that a permit was required for building most of those structures, but no inspection would be made as the county did not employ enough manpower to inspect rural properties outside of the city’s immediate surrounding areas. The septic has always been permitted and has always been inspected.
The buyer may insist the county will help the seller permit the existing structures after the fact. BUT this is not without significant cost, more than the original permit would have cost for sure. The permit is usually only inspected for visible life-safety issues such as structural and electrical on an after-the-fact permit so even though it makes a buyer happy, it lends very little “feel good” to the process.
For this reason, I suggest that you go through the pain of inviting a government official out through the course of your build to ensure that it is done in a manner generally acceptable and up to code for the timeframe it is constructed. Then in the future if they have dreamed up some new-fangled tie down straps, the buyer who is now requesting them today can pay for them to be added. It's cheaper to do it now, in the long-run.
Now all this good advice goes 360 degrees against my personal beliefs, as I truly believe that I should be able to build whatever the heck shelters, structures, teepees, mud houses, cellars, tire buildings, etc. that I desire and short of the septic which could affect other neighbors, no county official should have a say-so in the matter. But it is the world we live in and I do hold a real estate license and I really need to give advice based on our current accepted county ordinances!