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Property Permits

If you’re looking to buy a home, or fix up the one you’re in, it’s worth the extra time to do your due diligence and research the permits necessary.

The Importance of PermitsWhen fixing up your home, obtaining the proper permits is the best way to ensure the job is done correctly. Sometimes homeowners bypass the permit process in order to save time and money, and too often, even licensed contractors do not obtain the necessary permits, which can hurt you later on. . If you're adding additional living space, don't even consider doing the work without permit, appraisers will not give you full value of the additional square footage if the addition is unpermitted. This could drastically affect the sale price of the property. If you’re using a contractor, be sure they obtain the proper permits to be sure the work meets local code requirements, especially if the contractor is not from the area. This will protect you, as the homeowner, from code violations. If the work is not up to code, this can cause problems when you try to sell the house down the road.Checking Permit RecordsMost houses are inspected by a home inspector before they're sold, but home inspectors don't inspect the permit record on a house. The local planning department keeps a complete record of the permit history for any home, and you can obtain a copy of this history prior to making your purchase. To some, this may seem unnecessary, but open permits can add considerable cost to your home purchase.For example, perhaps the homeowners were planning to replace the roof last year, they took out a permit, and prepared to do the work but then got relocated and had to move. When you come in to purchase the home, and the planning department sees an open permit out to replace the roof, that may become your responsibility before you can move in. Even if the old permit expired, you may be required to first pay to reopen the permit and then complete the job. This is especially true if you’re purchasing a home and planning to make additional improvements right away.When you’re house hunting, go to the city planning department before you complete the home inspection. Be sure you take care of this before closing to negotiate an acceptable solution.

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