“A Building Permit? I am Just Renovating.” – A Guide to Building Permits

“A Building Permit? I am Just Renovating.” – A Guide to Building Permits


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Most homeowners don’t have the slightest hint that the renovation or home addition they are undertaking may require a building permit. Not every minor addition may require permit but a significant renovation or addition may require one. Frankly, people do ignore it at first but it can certainly sabotage your real estate value.

The Need for Building Codes

Building codes aren’t a US phenomenon. Ever since the first civilizations started taking shape around 4,000 years ago, building codes have helped cities grow. Every major city in history is known to have local permits and codes. Their purpose is to ensure a safer locality and equal distribution of public resources. The same is applied even today across America through they may differ as per city, county or state.

Local contractors and builders know these regulations in detail. Often, they guide property owners in complying with these codes. Securing a permit can cost a homeowner approximately between $300 to $1500. Tax authorities also get to know about the changes in the building through these building permits. This allows better tax collection and stop tax evasion. On a lighter note, most building permits are not too hard to get.

What Changes Require Permits

Real estate investors who flip houses should know, in full detail, what comes under the purview of permits. Here are some:

  • Exterior aesthetic changes
  • Demolition
  • Structural alterations
  • Addition of alternate structures
  • Shed addition in front or back yard
  • Attic and basement finishing
  • Alteration in the core plumbing structure
  • Garage conversion
  • Major addition to a home
  • New roofing
  • Addition of solar electric system
  • Swimming pools

What Does not Require Permits?

  • Wall and ceiling painting – both inside and outside
  • Installation of new kitchen cabinets
  • New light and fan switches
  • Replacing current plumbing fixtures
  • AC and Water heater replacement
  • Alarm system installation
  • Replacing or renovating existing flooring
  • Recoating driveways

Authorities, in many places, have specified a maximum amount that can be spent on above activities. If not complied with, even these no-permit-required activities may require a permit. So, as long as the renovations are low cost, you are safe. Remember, expensive quartz countertops or luxury remodeling can cost in more ways than one.

Applying for a Building Permit

Most building permits in Los Angeles area are easy to apply for. Nonetheless, it does take money, time and extra legwork. Here are the steps that are more or less same throughout USA.

  • Online application submission or in-person collection
  • Submitting application along with detailed remodeling plans
  • Pay the relevant fee as per the remodeling project
  • Undertaking inspection, if any.
  • Collect the final approved permit

Third party services can also help you procure a permit. In most cases, contractors and builders can help a great deal.

Penalty for Not Securing Permits

So, you want to skip permit? Think again! Such a scenario means you are doing illegal construction in your premises. Home owners can invite hefty penalties, fines and even demolition of construction. Other actions include seizure, no-sale penalty, condemnation and others. Even if the previous owner undertook the construction, the penalties have to be paid by the current homeowner.

Real estate investing is directly linked with building permits. Do not underestimate its impact on wealth creation. Take smart steps and save yourself thousands of dollars in penalty later on.

Prathibha Kokkalera

Revive Property Group

www.ReviveProperties.com

www.iStageElegantInteriors.com

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