It’s very easy to find a bunch of home improvement projects online. They’re fun, fulfilling, and often can add value to your home. But did you know that some projects require permits? Even if you are doing a project entirely yourself, some projects cannot be done without a permit. 

How Do You Get a Permit?

You’ll need to go to your municipality office and provide detailed plans of the renovation you want to perform on your home. Always bring more documents than you think, as it will be likely that they will ask for supplementary documentation. 

Once you receive a permit from your municipal office, an inspector will come by to regularly check on the progress of your renovation. It’s important that as you are doing your renovation, you are sticking to your plan and your inspector is giving you a green light. 

The good news? Permits for small projects can be approved in as little as 24 hours! Larger projects will naturally take longer to approve, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. 

Which Projects Need Permits?

Not all projects need permits, and we don’t want you needlessly going to your municipal office when you can easily do something on your own. However, if you are considering the following you will definitely need to get a permit: 

  •     Finishing a basement
  •     Updating plumbing
  •     Updating electrical equipment
  •     Constructing a deck
  •     Adding a wood burning stove or similar item 

Remember, that this is not an exhaustive list of things that will need permits. This is just a general idea of which renovation projects do. 

Which Projects Don’t Need Permits?

Some projects won’t need permits, here is a quick list of things you can do on your own: 

  •     Painting
  •     Re-siding
  •     Re-roofing
  •     New floors
  •     New cabinets
  •     Basic replacement of windows or doors 

A good rule of thumb to consider is if your project does not change the overall structure or function of your home, you do not need a permit. But when in doubt, you should always double check with your local municipality and/or visit their website to determine whether your project needs building permits. 

Why Do You Need to Get A Permit?

It’s important for real estate information to remain current and up to date. Your local government determines taxes, insurance, and even future resale values based on any changes that are made to a property. This benefits you as much as it does your local municipal office. Any renovations done to your home need to be done with the latest health and safety standards. You wouldn’t want to hire a cowboy contractor only to find out part way through the project that they’ve only used the cheapest quality products that leave you walking around your home afraid that you might fall through the floor.

Getting a permit for a renovation ensures that the project you are about to embark on is going to be done right the first time and you won’t have to pay expensive fines. If disaster does ensue, you’ll be protected by your insurance company who will deal with any issues that come from a project renovated with a permit. 

Building a home without permits can significantly reduce the value of your home, especially if safety issues are discovered by a home inspector. You could face significant fines and have to pay to get the job fixed which makes your original project that much more expensive.

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