Do I really need to pull a permit?
The topic of permits comes up in nearly every listing and buyer transaction we Real Estate agents come across. Both Buyers and Sellers are curious to find out what types of projects require a permit and when you don’t need one.
Why do you need to pull the permit in the first place? Permits are required to ensure that all construction and repair work done on a property has been done correctly, and complies with city building code. They are a benefit to you and your family, as well as any future buyers, because they ensure the proper steps were taken, and the job was completed correctly. As a Buyer considering purchasing a home, they will often request copies of permits pulled as reassurance that all the repairs and upgrades were done to code. Now switch that around, you would only expect the same level of assurance if you were buying a home as well.
So who needs to pull a permit? In the city of Andover, permits are required for “all new construction, remodeling, additions, decks, porches, lawn irrigation underground sprinkler systems, re-roofing, and siding. Permits are also required for any work that affects the buildings electrical, plumbing and heating systems… No permit is needed for painting, adding insulation, putting up wallpaper, replacing gutters, or installing ceramic tile, carpeting or other floor coverings. No permit is required for replacement windows unless the size of the window is structurally changing and new header is being installed.” (City of Andover) Each city has their own set of requirements, so please be sure to check them out on their website, or by contacting the city building department.
What can happen if I don’t pull permits? A lot of people do not pull permits because they are either trying to save money, or they are certain they know what they are doing. However, whether you are a Master Electrician, or an Accountant, if you are working on the electrical, you will need to pull a permit. Often times it can be a hassle, but it simply isn’t worth the fines that can be incurred from doing work without a permit. For example; If the city were to find out that you did work without a permit, they can require you to pull permits, have the project inspected, incur a fine from the city, they can have you make repairs as needed, and if not done correctly, they can have you remove your new addition and start over.
If you decide to list your home for sale, one of the very first documents you will complete will be the Seller’s Disclosure Statement. On this document, you will need to disclose whether there has been any work done that permits weren’t pulled for. If you still think the city won’t find out, don’t forget about your neighbors! Nosey neighbors have been known to tell potential buyers and city officials about work being done without a permit.
As you can tell, our recommendation is to always pull the permit! And if you are questioning whether you need to or not, make a quick call to your city building code officer to be sure. If you have a licensed contractor complete your project, be sure they are pulling the permits for you, and also follow through to be sure the final inspection is done, and the permit is closed. If your contractor suggests NOT pulling a permit, run. It could mean they are not licensed or insured, and you are opening yourself up to a liability.
If you are considering buying or selling your home, or would like to talk to an experienced agent about making future improvements to your home, contact us today.
Chris and Tara Mehalovich - Minnesota Home Venture, Inc. 612-723-1207
Serving Anoka County, and surrounding areas.