Renovation Permits and Requirements

I currently reside in a 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath house.  We have an unfinished basement and recently discussed the idea of finishing it to add two bedrooms and a living space. We began our research on requirements for residential renovations, such as adding additional sleeping and living space.  Legal requirements vary by each state, so we needed to look at our specific area.

To start any basement or electrical renovations we were considering, we would need to get permits. According to Zillow, “A lot of people start by talking to an architect or a designer without understanding their options. These professionals will charge you for information that the city or county can tell you for free.  Go to your governing municipality’s planning office, tell them what you’re think about doing and ask what your options are.”  The municipality’s planning office would be able to tell you the proper steps in order to add additional living space to a current residential property.

In addition to these permits, this department should be able to tell you the requirements for a room to be considered a bedroom.  Most areas have a specific room size requirement, egress requirements, and a height requirement. This is important to understand before listing a property as an additional room can increase the property’s value.

In most areas, if the proper permits are not issued, the owner can be charged a fee and may have to remove any and all renovations that were completed.  Our county has a list posted of permits needed in order to start renovations on a residential property.  Permits ensure building codes for constructions, plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, and other property aspects meet the minimum standards, as well as to reassure future homeowners that they purchased a safe property.

What other steps are important to take before starting renovations?