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Old 03-07-2012, 10:29 AM   #1
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Hi all, i'm new to the forum.... I'm in a little bind concerning finishing my basement.... it's a rectangle basement, half of it long-wise will be finished and the other side will be done some other time... Now my questions is this.... what are the pro and cons of finishing the basement without permit? I have a handy man that would do the whole basement for half the price of the half - basement appraissal from another guy. I've used him many times and he does a great job and gives us design ideas.... the other guy will do the work legally but i will have to get a permit and see my property taxes go up... I'm going to be leaving in this house for many years to come. what would you do? there's little chance that the town will come inside my house to look at what's going on.....

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Old 03-07-2012, 11:14 AM   #2
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what would you do? permit or no permit


This comes up every other day.

Please read prior posts!

I am prepared to bid your job for half, the half your handyman with great ideas gave you.

Well actually I cannot, out of the business myself and just bidding for real contractors, I have to cover liability insurance and bonding just to start. My guys take on liability for your basement for, forever I guess.

And oh yes, I remember now. Drawings and stamps and permits and inspections so when the real housewife of wherever slips, falls and puts a gold looking nail into a socket your unlicensed electrician wired?

No. You should never apply for inspections or grab permits for basement work because your property taxes will at least quadruple. We all know your are slaughtering your own meat down their right?

And you will be summoned for jury duty to judge your peers at least once a month (If you register and vote you will be called twice per month. Electrical inspectors are connected!). Your license plate tags will cost six times what they do now, and with a new,finished basement? You will be perceived as rich. Even though it was supposed to last millions of years? You will need a new passport.


Last edited by user1007; 03-07-2012 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:01 PM   #3
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Well...you'll have a hard time finding a pro here that will work without a permit and it sort of rubs us the wrong way when someone hires unlicensed people to do unpermitted work for half the price.

Besides...its the law in most places.

Do a search on this site and you'll find lots of info.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:55 PM   #4
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what would you do? permit or no permit


The pros:

1. Initial cost is less.

The cons:

1. You may run into difficulty when you sell the house explaining to the various organizations involved why your basement is finished, but does not appear on the register of deeds as such.

2. You may have a hard time insuring an unauthorized addition.

3. If the project is discovered by the building inspector, either due to neighbor comment or otherwise, you may be forced to remove the work, or pay penalty to get the work permitted.

4. The Board of Assessors may assign you back taxes if they discover the project.

5. Since the work is going to be unpermitted and uninspected, you may have a difficult time claiming against your contractor in the event the project does not go as expected.

6. Unless you hire your own independent inspector, or you feel comfortable evaluating the work yourself, it is going to be difficult to verify that the work was done in accordance with the plan.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:30 PM   #5
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what would you do? permit or no permit


What are you actually going to "DO" as far as finish work goes in the basement? Does your locality even require permits for the work you want to do? You might want to look into that before you worry about whether or not to apply for permits.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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what would you do? permit or no permit


A few more cons:

When you decide to sell the house, there will be no record of the addition. As a buyer, a non-permitted basement finish would tell me to move along to the next house on the list.
If you ever have a homeowners insurance claim (for anything) - expect a possible fight if the work was done without permits or inspections.


If your "handyman" is willing to do the work without permits, is he also willing to do the work with permits, or is he planning on hacking and cutting corners wherever he can? Permits are not there to be a pain-in-the-butt for you, they are there to make sure the work you pay someone to do on your house is done correctly, and you don't end up with leaking pipes, inadequate wiring, faulty protection, sub-standard construction, and potentially life threatening issues. As for raising taxes, my basement permit says $5,700 in work is being done. Even with my ridiculously high tax rate, I'm looking at about $11/month increase in taxes for the improvement. $11/month is worth it to me to know that I'm not going to have any issues down the line with realtors or insurance adjusters, or tax appraisers.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Quote:
Originally Posted by drudgenator View Post
there's little chance that the town will come inside my house to look at what's going on.....
Here's a fun/true story. About 5 years ago, a friend of mine in the far NW suburbs of Chicago finished his basement. Everything except the ceiling (just painted the joist cavities black). He did it without permits. Somewhere along the way, it got back to the assessors that the basement is finished. They never came to check, just automatically added it to his tax bill.

When his next tax bill came around he called to fight it, at which point they said they'd need to send assessors out to prove his basement was not finished. They came, went downstairs, and he was all clear. (In his city, if the ceiling is not finished, the basement is not finished). However they did add on some things the previous owners did (like the deck and patio) that were not on the assessment.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:44 PM   #8
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what would you do? permit or no permit


pretty loaded question, no surprise on the replies. doing things right tends to cost more money, however you really need to understand the laws of your local jurisdiction. they very greatly from area to area and any replies you get on here are only general responses.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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what would you do? permit or no permit


I kind of get a kick out of some of the permit police around here.
A permit definitely has its advantages.
But an op shouldn't be condemned and called irresponsible if he wants to bootleg a basement finish in or a deck or a roof on his house.
Now something involving serious construction (that's up to interpretation, I guess), like a huge deck or addition or a whole house, of course get a permit.
And not getting something designed and inspected by somebody doesn't usually lead to total failure.
DIY's have access to span tables and codes in their area, if applicable, that they can consult when in doubt.

Personally, I don't like inspectors.
And I would just as soon they not be around to tell me to do things that I know don't need to be done.
Most of them have never swung a hammer. They've just read books.
Some of the stuff they want you to do borders ridiculous and isn't at all necessary or practical.
Just more money.

I came from California, very, very, strick about everything (because they had a big earthquake 106 years ago) to Missouri, where builders didn't need liscences and they're were no permits to be gotten for anything (yet the New Madrid quake was bigger than the SF one).
1,000's of gorgeous high dollar estates and mansions have been standing in all they're glory, some since 1931, all without a permit.
Just as high of quality because good carpenters from KC, Florida, and California heard about the building boom out here and ran off the native "builders" that really were screwing up everything and kind of turned the tide and starting building high-quality homes, changing the acceptable standard.

But like any place, sooner or later the government does butt it and take over. Enforcement of UBC took off about the same time I got here in the mid-nighties.

Anyway, I would never give those greedy ******** any of my money for permits and inspections unless someone was making me, or if it was something I couldn't hide.

But, I think I know more than most inspectors do (especially those really young ones) so why would I want one around?
Get out of my way and let me work.
I don't need you.

Last edited by titanoman; 03-07-2012 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 03-07-2012, 06:48 PM   #10
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Quote:
Originally Posted by drudgenator View Post
Hi all, i'm new to the forum.... I'm in a little bind concerning finishing my basement.... it's a rectangle basement, half of it long-wise will be finished and the other side will be done some other time... Now my questions is this.... what are the pro and cons of finishing the basement without permit? I have a handy man that would do the whole basement for half the price of the half - basement appraissal from another guy. I've used him many times and he does a great job and gives us design ideas.... the other guy will do the work legally but i will have to get a permit and see my property taxes go up... I'm going to be leaving in this house for many years to come. what would you do? there's little chance that the town will come inside my house to look at what's going on.....
bid a job yrs back..we was going to get all permits as per law....homeowner decided to have work performed w/o permits....true story.....as job was comming to completion inspector shows up..the sh#% hit the fan...all plumbing,electrical, was made to be uncovered to be inspected..it all failed...what do you think was it worth it....as far as taxes go I don't buy big increase for fixing homes...min at best...even if they do rise you increased the value of home....
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Quote:
Originally Posted by ben's plumbing View Post
bid a job yrs back..we was going to get all permits as per law....homeowner decided to have work performed w/o permits....true story.....as job was comming to completion inspector shows up..the sh#% hit the fan...all plumbing,electrical, was made to be uncovered to be inspected..it all failed...what do you think was it worth it....as far as taxes go I don't buy big increase for fixing homes...min at best...even if they do rise you increased the value of home....

Very true. Depending on the inspector, they can make you remove it ALL, and then start over. Not fun. A permit might run a hundred or so dollars, depending on how much you intend to spend. A finished basement is not going to double your property taxes, at most it might add ten or so percent. And like Ben said, you're raising your property's value, which is nice if you want a HE loan, or go to sell.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:35 PM   #12
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what would you do? permit or no permit


I know permits are different all over, but my town charges whichever is greater: $50 or 0.5% of the improvement cost. So, you need to be over $10K improvement for it to be more than $50. That includes inspections (no separate inspection fees).

In response to titanoman's post: the big difference between you and a lot of other people is a lot of people don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. They will read this and think "yeah, to heck with inspectors, they don't know what they are doing." Then they'll go and install combustibles right against a furnace exhaust vent, put screws in a dryer vent line, undersize a dwv pipe, or any other number of seemingly "no big deal" issues that can cause big problems down the road. Inspections and permits protect people from themselves as much as they protect unknowing homeowners from rip-off contractors.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Get a permit with drawings of some sort and get and inspector out as soon as possible for high suggestions. He is now your employee and can help everything be approved if you do good work and not cheat. That permit could be worth its weight in gold if and/or when you sell.

Taxes will not increase much and the slightly increased valuation is something an appraiser for a future owner will look at to help a purchaser to get a loan to afford the investment.

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Old 03-07-2012, 08:32 PM   #14
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what would you do? permit or no permit


For me I don't need a permit, I asked. Think he is to busy to bother with this little stuff.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:34 PM   #15
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what would you do? permit or no permit


Get a permit. Makes things easier all the way around. Not sure about your local codes but in NC i can go get a permit as a homeowner and do all the work myself.....even if i have a "helper" that knows how to do everything. Chances are if your handy man is good he knows how things can be done to pass code.

In the long run its the safe thing to do if its going to add heated sq footage to your home.

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