The “Scary” Permit Experience

                Over the years I have heard over and over again about the worries of working with the city.  This has been from clients I have worked with on their projects, people just talking about what I do for a living, and people who have thought about flipping a house of their own.  The concerns people have with letting the city get involved in their projects can be “scary” but only if you don’t know what to expect.

                When breaking down the cost to renovate a project, adding up the number of drywall sheets or kitchen cabinets needed, are easy to see.  It’s the things that you are not always able to see right in front of you that can be harder.  This is some of the “scare” in pulling permits.  Not knowing all the different paperwork needed to have your permit approved can have the cost of your project get out of hand quickly, as well as being unaware of applicable building codes to properly estimate material needs.

                On the other hand for some people, starting your process of getting a permit to make changes to your flip may seem reasonable.  Being aware of all potential cost is important.  Everything adds up when you need a site plan, house drawings, hvac calculations, hvac mechanical drawings, plumbing mechanical drawings, ESA permits, and variances.   What may have started as a $600.00 estimated cost can turn into a $12,000.00 actual cost.

                Breaking down your cost of materials is a great way to keep control of the project budget.  If you are not aware of what building codes you will need to comply with on your project, your estimate could also sky rocket.  An outdate home may need a lot of new materials behind the walls to bring it up to code and not having these costs budgeted may sink a flip.

                With time and knowledge all these “scary” permit situations can be avoided.  Having a good understanding of the building code and permit requirements can help remove unexpected expenses, as well as knowing what a home owner is allowed to undertake.  Not everything requires you to spend $100’s or even $1,000’s on licensed professionals.  Many aspects can be done yourself with the right program, forms, or even just pencil and paper, and a little time.