So you’re interested in doing that basement finishing project without pulling a permit, eh?
Well, before you decide to do, look at this…
Permits for basement finishing attempts are required by statute or ordinance almost everywhere. As a homeowner, if you are caught without a permit either during or after assembling your project, you may be fined at the very least. Even worse, you could be instructed to demolish all or areas of assembling your project to allow for inspections, and after that be expected to re-complete the project in just a certain time frame, despite money handy.
Aside from the doom and gloom, there are lots of very good reasons for finding a permit.
Number one, it may add significant value to your dwelling. I fully recognize this is also an argument against pulling a permit. Yes, the valuation of your property increases — meaning that your house taxes are likely to increase. However, when it’s time to sell your home, a knowledgeable buyer will value homes with un-permitted (and thus un-inspected) elements lower than ones that were properly finished.
Your basement finishing project has added size, a bedroom, why not a bathroom, and can potentially add thousands of dollars or higher towards the sale price of your home when it’s time. Without a permit, that value could vanish!
Second, a basement finishing contractor who encourages one to advance without a permit might not exactly want one to discover that he’s unlicensed. In most areas, unlicensed contractors cannot obtain building permits. This should alert you to potential fraud or substandard building practices.
Third, whilst the occasional building inspector could be challenging to use, contrary to popular belief he could be looking out for your best interest. The inspector verifies that the basement finishing contractor has included all protection elements, understanding that the building is done as outlined by building codes and best practices.
Are there disadvantages to having a permit? Yes, however, they are extremely over-stated. The advantages are an advantage of you and your basement finishing project that shouldn’t be ignored.