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Discussion Starter #1
My town requires that I put a figure to the work that I will be doing in my basement in order to get permits.

What would be some good figures to use for the following: Electric, pluming and building?

The space is about 500 sq ft. I am going to build a 6x8 full bath, install electric floorboard heat, window a/c, laundry room and storage space under stairs behind the bathroom.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Just give them a swag estimate. $1000/fixture for the plumbing. How much are you going to do yourself.
To pull a permit on my project, one of the inspectors in my town tried to get me to use a figure of what it would cost if I had a pro do the work (It probably would have been $25k start to finish), then his boss came over and said $2000. Done.
 

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Agreed, just throw a number at it. You're a DIYer so you should only give them materials cost. When I take a permit application from a DIYer we just look to make sure the number seems realistic for materials. $500 would be suspiciously low for a 500 square foot remodel/finish for example.
 

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I do a rough calc of materials that I will buy & use that
Multiple permits & no problems
I estimated my 24x36 garage/great room walk up attic at $50k
The lady at the building Dept actually asked what it would cost to finish out only the living space to figure the permit cost a different way
But it came out the same in permit cost - $555

Rough building I'm into it for about $30k with all windows/doors/roof
I still have the garage floor to pour & the new driveway to go in
So I think I'll be pretty close to my estimate
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Clutch, thats the problem. When I had my upstairs bath and kitchen done they told me to put a figure as if a pro were doing everything. That is what I did. Now that figure is on my home value profile even though the job was done for much less than half of that.

I havent priced out my materials yet. This is why I was asking for some ball park figures.
 

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This site just isn't geared toward providing cost estimates, even ballpark ones. Way too many variables...So any number you get will be a wild guess.

I'd suggest visiting the bookstore and looking at a copy of Means Building Construction Cost Data (the residential version). That'll have some reasonable square foot costs in your area.
 

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Square foot costs are almost never accurate. As KC stated there are a lot of variables involved when pricing a job. I would ask to speak to a supervisor at the building department and see if you can work something out with them. It is unreasonable for them to expect you to provide a cost estimate similar to what a professional would do. First off every companies variables are different as well as their production rates. Secondly a professional is not doing the job therefor the cost to do the work is in fact less. If they still push you for a professional price the means residential square foot cost to finish a basement of 600 SqFt in an average 1 story home is $27.75 per SqFt. That is out of the 2005 cost book. I do want to caution you that as I stated earlier square foot costs are almost never accurate especially in remodeling situations. As stated earlier there are way to many variables to be considered in order to accurately price any job. Also materials costs in costbooks are never correct. They are meant to be used as a guideline not the sole pricing source. Good Luck and hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
KC and AR, what the two of you said makes sense. I guess I am better off running the actual numbers of the project and base it on that. My main thing is not having to put down an inflated number for the cost of the job since I am DIY.

Thanks for the help. I'll be posting a lot of ?s as the project goes along. Thanks again.
 

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Clutch, thats the problem. When I had my upstairs bath and kitchen done they told me to put a figure as if a pro were doing everything. That is what I did. Now that figure is on my home value profile even though the job was done for much less than half of that.
Sounds like they are using building permits to increase taxes
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thats exactly what they are doing. This is the reason why I dont want to inflate my costs being that I am not a contractor.

I was told at the tax dept that they are going to reassess properties that pulled permits and any work that is considered "modern" will be taxed more. For example, I am already paying for a finished basement because it was done in the early 80's. But since I am redoing the work I will have to pay more.
 

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Sounds like they are using building permits to increase taxes
In a sense they are. Building activity is way down right now as I'm sure you are aware. That was a big source of revenue for many counties and cities. They are doing all sorts of things to try and offset their budget deficits. Where I am since the overall value of homes has decreased the county has reassessed (sp?) the land values (increased of course:censored:) to account for the difference.

If you think its bad now though wait till the feds pass the new health care reforms and require the states to pick up 42% of the cost of medicare and medicaid.
 

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I haven't closed any of my permits yet but still my assessed value went up. Funny how that works.
 

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I haven't closed any of my permits yet but still my assessed value went up. Funny how that works.

Same here. I haven't closed out the permit for my 40x68 pole barn, but the county auditor showed up and raised my taxes. I still need to get the electrical and building final.

When I pulled the permit I listed what I thought the cost of materials would be with no labor since it was DIY. Their online system now shows:

08-16XX, DET BLDG, C/C $14,000 9/22/08
08 N/C POLE BLDG 100% 1-1-2009

I supposed I could call and complain that they marked it complete January 1, even though it wasn't until May...and they didn't show up until then....It is all about getting retroactive taxes I am sure.
 

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Well, I guess Towns have always used building permits as a way of re-assessing house values
But my view on the cost of the permit is that it is based on the actual cost of the improvement
Not the value increase or what it could cost to build/have built
Its one reason that many people will not pull a permit - as taxes then go up
But that can bite you even worse when it comes time to sell & you have unpermitted/un-inspected work

All of my permits are still open
But I had to go before Conservation for approval & was told anything not started within 2 years had to go back thru the approval process
So....I started everything :laughing:

Found out after that it was actually 3 years to start projects :mad:
Oh well....you play...you pay

Lots of houses have been devalued in price, so overall taxes & Town revenue are down. I know my last house sold for $67k less then I sold it for. I thought they bought it to flip, but it has not been resold in the past 2 years. A house on our street has dropped in price over $60k. Another one the people moved out & told the bank the house is theirs last year
It just sold for $176k ($60k less then the other house for sale & over $120k less then what we bought our house for) & is being renovated - probably to flip
 

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This cracks me up.

People do their own work and save money in the process. That's a good thing. If their work is on par with most contractors' work then the work the DIYer does should increase the value of the home the same as it would if a contractor had done the work. Makes sense, right?

Leoskee, I don't see why anyone could be suprised by the fact that the work you do in your house increases the taxes you pay on your house. Whether you do it for $500 or a contractor does the same project for $5000, the home's value is increased the same. People that want nicer modernized homes pay more tax than people that are living in less valuable homes...That's the society we live in and what our economy is (or was :whistling2:) based on. People that want to eat a larger slice of the pie while paying for a small slice of pie do so on the backs of everyone else and that is a shame. It comes down to integrity...Some got it, some don't.
 

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This cracks me up.

People do their own work and save money in the process. That's a good thing. If their work is on par with most contractors' work then the work the DIYer does should increase the value of the home the same as it would if a contractor had done the work. Makes sense, right?

Leoskee, I don't see why anyone could be suprised by the fact that the work you do in your house increases the taxes you pay on your house. Whether you do it for $500 or a contractor does the same project for $5000, the home's value is increased the same. People that want nicer modernized homes pay more tax than people that are living in less valuable homes...That's the society we live in and what our economy is (or was :whistling2:) based on. People that want to eat a larger slice of the pie while paying for a small slice of pie do so on the backs of everyone else and that is a shame. It comes down to integrity...Some got it, some don't.

No argueing that! I completely understand the process but my problem is with the fact that they are adding to the cost of something that you are doing yourself. If a reno job costs 20K with a licensed contractor and you DIY for 10K, why should you have to pay taxes as if it job cost you 20K? I dont agree with that. Im sure no one does. So what I am trying to figure out is if there is a happy medium. A dollar amount that will not inflate my taxes unnecessarily.
 

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You're going to get taxed on the assessed value, not what the stated permit job cost. It's mainly the permit fees that the town is trying to drive up.
 

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The building permit should not be used as a "tax". I understand appraising a property accordingly for upgrades that is acceptable. That should have nothing to do with the cost of the permit! It is the appraisers job to calculate the value of the property not the building department. The building department is supposed to be responsible for maintaining the general safety of the public by enforcing the minimum (I have come across some inspectors who didn't know what they where doing) building codes, zoning laws, and local ordinances.

If you use it as way to boost revenue more and more people will stop applying for permits. This leads to the potential of more jobs being performed that do not meet minimum safety codes. This in turn will lead to endangering the public. KC please understand I feel very strongly about the need for the services provided by the building department, this is not an attack on them. I do not agree with using the building department as a way of boosting "tax" revenue as that is not what it was intended to do. If government in general would learn to be more responsible with the money they have they would not have to continually look for new and creative ways to tax the public. We are currently the highest taxed country in the world and receive the least amount of services for our tax dollars. We fought a war with England over these very same issues!

I apologize for getting political and realize this is not really the right place to do so. I felt it somewhat necessary to make my point.
 

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I'm with you ARI001, the building department shouldn't be in it to boost taxes. They aren't going to give out permits for less than they ought to though because they don't want to leave money on the table, understandably. I assure you that I often inspect homes that are listed on the permit application as costing $1,000,000 that actually get listed for two or three times that much as soon as they're finished. They're certainly not fooling me but it doesn't matter because our new construction and substantial remodels are permitted by square footage, not cost.

Not sure how it is elsewhere, but the County assessor has no interest in the valuation that the City gets on the permit. They often come by and look at plan files and they assess the value based on the project itself and take other properties in the area and other factors into consideration.

I'm in total agreement that high permit costs deter people from proactively following the law and getting the required permits. Costs should be kept reasonable and standardized (square footage based is a good way). There's a fine line between making the process easy and economical and making it effective. Nobody likes getting permits or inspections but it is in the interest of public safety, just like speed limit signs on the highway.
 

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No argueing that! I completely understand the process but my problem is with the fact that they are adding to the cost of something that you are doing yourself. If a reno job costs 20K with a licensed contractor and you DIY for 10K, why should you have to pay taxes as if it job cost you 20K? I dont agree with that. Im sure no one does. So what I am trying to figure out is if there is a happy medium. A dollar amount that will not inflate my taxes unnecessarily.
As everyone has said
You are taxed on the value of the work completed - it doesn't matter who does it. Well, OK - it does. Work that is not quite "perfect" will add less value. As you improve your home the value goes up & your taxes go up. I have no problem with that, nor should anyone else

Example, 2 houses same size etc & everything
One has been renovated & is sold for $300k
The 2nd house someone buys for $150k & renovates DIY
Why should the 1st person pay 2x the taxes because they bought a house that was already renovated?

I bought my last house for $23,600 in '97, far less then what other houses were selling for. My 1st Tax bill was based on an appraised value of $70k
I thought it was great :thumbup:. I was able to get a loan & pay off my credit cards!! Just to be straight - I BOUGHT the house on 3 credit cards w/cash advances. My cousin - a banker - thought it was a riot

The permit fee IMO should not be based upon the cost of a Pro to do the work.
But every Town (I think) has the right to charge what they want for permit fees
 
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