Do I need a permit for my Las Vegas home improvement project? A LasVegasRealEstate.com reader asked us that question this week. Here’s the answer.
Maybe you’ve heard horror stories about people who invested thousands in a home project only to be required to tear it all down because they didn’t have a building permit. Unfortunately, it’s an all too real possibility if you don’t get the paperwork right. The insights below will help you better understand just what a permit is, when you need one and how to get it.
What is a permit anyway?
A permit is an official and written permission to move forward with your home project. Depending on where you live, a permit may be issued by a state, county or city government agency, such as the building division or permits department.
Permits — and the related inspections — help ensure that home and yard updates meet local ordinances and other requirements. This helps ensure the safety of your home’s current and future occupants. Permits may address everything from zoning and fire protection to water and sewer lines, to electrical service, to structural integrity.
Do permits cost anything?
Permits usually have fees, and the cost can vary tremendously by location and project. You might spend less than $20 or more than $1,000. Your contractor or local building agency can tell you the exact price for your project.
Which home improvement projects require a permit?
Whether or not your project requires a permit depends on where you live. In general, though, these types of improvements will require permits:
- New construction, whether you’re adding a bedroom, deck, gazebo or storage shed
- Major improvements, such as remodeling a kitchen, replacing your roof or doing a large-scale restoration of an older home
- Structural or mechanical changes, such as finishing your basement, removing a wall or altering electrical or plumbing systems
Simple repairs, replacements, and updates may not require a permit. For instance, you typically won’t need one to replace appliances, add kitchen cabinets, repave your driveway, paint or add floor coverings or to build a small fence.
In addition to obtaining a permit, depending on the scope of your project, you may need to obtain special system permits, such as electrical, plumbing, or mechanical permits. For example, you may need to obtain a plumbing permit if you plan to install an underground lawn sprinkler. Or, you may need a mechanical permit to install a central air conditioning unit.
How do I get a permit?
If you’re working with a contractor, confirm upfront that he or she will fully manage the permit process. This should include knowing whether and which permits are required, “pulling” (or applying for) permits, scheduling and overseeing inspections, and covering the cost (typically by including it in your total price).
If you’re doing the project yourself, check local government websites to learn which agency is responsible for permits to your home. This group can provide details on whether you need a permit, the application process, the cost, and how and when to schedule inspections.
In general, pulling a permit requires that you provide detailed information, including drawings of the planned work. On approval, you’ll get a certificate to post where the work is happening.
Obtaining a permit here in Southern Nevada is easy for LasVegasRealEstate.com readers because we have links for you:
Las Vegas: Permits for the City of Las Vegas
North Las Vegas: Permits for the City of North Las Vegas
Henderson: Permits for the City of Henderson
Boulder City: Permits for the City of Boulder City
Unincorporated Clark County: Permits for Unincorporated Clark County
What if I don’t get a permit?
First and foremost, proceeding without required permits leaves you exposed to potential hazards from improperly done work. That could mean a risk of anything from plumbing failures to electrical fires to structural collapse. And your insurance policy may not cover the damage.
In addition, if you complete a project without a required permit, you could face fines or may even be asked to undo the work and start again with the proper permits in place. Furthermore, if you try to sell your home and a buyer’s inspection uncovers renovations made without appropriate permits, you may have trouble closing the deal.
Why are permits worthwhile?
Permits add another step, and another expense, to home and yard improvement projects. Knowing you have done the work correctly provides peace of mind and the assurance that your future home sale goes smoothly, preventing fines and keeping your family safe.
Thank you for reading our post, “Do I need a permit?” For more Las Vegas home improvement tips, market news, information on Las Vegas homes for sale, or general real estate information please visit our website www.lasvegasrealestate.com