What about building permits?

When you purchase new construction you can be reasonably certain that all appropriate permits, building, electrical, plumbing etc., were obtained, the associated inspections completed and the work approved.  This permit and inspection process gives you the assurance that the house was constructed according to current national, state and local building standards and codes and that what you can’t see, inside the walls, attic spaces, exterior foundation, electrical wiring, plumbing etc. was done properly.  As a homeowner making repairs or improvements to your property you should, as part of your project planning, make certain that you are knowledgeable of the applicable standards and codes and  whether or not obtaining a building permit(s) and having the project inspected and approved by the appropriate jurisdiction is required. If you employ reputable contractors the cost of obtaining permits and managing the inspection process will be included in their bid but it remains your responsibility to see that they do so. If your Uncle Bob offers offers to help you build a new deck, or remodel that basement bathroom, that does not excuse you from obtaining a permit if required.  Yes, permits cost money, yes waiting on inspectors can potentially slow a project down, and yes the county assessor may well increase your tax assessment based on improvements that you make, but the law is the law and being able to document that all work was done correctly can be most beneficial when it comes time to sell the property or if you ever have to file a homeowner’s insurance claim.  In fact if you are aware that past work has been done without the appropriate permitting process you likely have an obligation to disclose that material fact to potential buyers. As a buyer knowing that permits were obtained should give you some sense that the work was done correctly and that you are less likely to experience unanticipated problems as a result of substandard design, materials and or workmanship. How can you tell if permits were obtained for that beautiful newly finished basement? In many communities a quick internet search of the governing jurisdiction database will likely tell the story.  For properties located in Omaha, NE you can search here and for those in Lincoln here. If online access is not available a phone call to the local planning department will usually yield the information that you seek. What if you purchase a house only to find out after the fact that there are significant issues resulting from repairs or renovations completed without the required permitting and inspections? Some title insurance policies include building permit violation coverage that may protect a subsequent homeowner that is faced with removing or remedying an existing structure because it was built without a required permit. If covered, such claims would, of course, be subject to the policy deductible and maximum limits of liability. You can find general information regarding permit requirements for Omaha here and for Lincoln here.

Remember whether buying or selling, moving up or downsizing, Lincoln or Omaha, the Vaccaros; Paul & Susan, stand ready to assist you, your family, friends and co-workers. Call or email us today! Lincoln (402)817-0355 , Omaha (402)577-0820, info@WeSellNebraska.com (Paul & Susan Vaccaro – CBSHome Real Estate 15950 W Dodge Road, Suite 200, Omaha, NE 68118 – Woods Bros Realty 3737 S 27th Street, Lincoln, NE 68502.