What to Know About Getting Building Permits in Massachusetts


Skipping Building Permits in Massachusetts is a Significant Mistake

Author Bill Gassett owns Maximum Real Estate Exposure.

You need a building permit whenever you do a significant project at your home, such as an addition or finishing your basement. Unfortunately, many homeowners skip out on getting the necessary building permits for several reasons.

In the future, when it is time to sell, not having appropriate permits can create issues. We will examine what a building permit is and how they work.

With this knowledge, you can make appropriate decisions when you would like to improve your property. You'll also feel confident everything was done right.

Building Permit MassachusettsPhoto byDeposit Photos

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit is a document from your local, state, or regional government granting permission to build, modify, or demolish a structure.

Building permits are necessary for any significant projects, such as an addition or finishing a basement, that involve structural changes to your home. Building permits ensure that your project meets building codes and safety standards.

A building permit will also help ensure that the work is done right. When building permits are pulled, city or town inspectors will verify the work is done to code.

When you have proper permits with a licensed contractor, the materials used should meet quality and safety standards. Building permits protect you and your property from any dangerous or potentially damaging consequences of improper workmanship.

Getting a building permit is essential when undertaking any project involving structural changes to your home.

Without a building permit, you may end up with a project that does not meet the code and may be unsafe. Lack of permits in Massachusetts can lead to costly fines and expensive repairs. Your odds of potential legal liabilities increase as well.

Ensuring your work is done safely and correctly is in your best interest.

What Are The Steps For Getting a Building Permit in Massachusetts?

The first step to obtaining a building permit in Massachusetts is to research the local zoning and building codes. These codes are in place to protect the safety and welfare of residents. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these codes, as they will determine the scope of your project.

If you have hired licensed contractors to do the work, they should know the codes that must be followed.

Next, you must complete an application for a building permit, which is available at the local building department, typically in city hall.

The application will ask for detailed information about the project, such as the location and the size of what you're doing. If the project involves changing existing structures, the application must also include this information.

You must submit a set of building plans unless it is a smaller project. Accompanying the plans, you'll need a description of what you plan to do and an estimate of the cost.

It is important to note that all plans must adhere to the local zoning and building codes. For example, if you add an addition, you must ensure it does not encroach on the neighbor's property line.

Once the application and plans are submitted, the local building inspector will review them to ensure they comply with the zoning and building codes. The building department will issue a building permit if everything is in order.

Finally, you can begin your project once you have your building permit. The local government may conduct periodic inspections to ensure the project is completed properly. Failure to comply with the codes and regulations can result in fines or other penalties.

What Are The Most Common Reasons Homeowners Skip The Permitting Process?

Some homeowners opt to skip the permitting process to save money and time.

The most common reason for not getting building permits is the increase in property taxes an owner will pay.

Think briefly about how much you can save in taxes by not telling the city or town you spent over $100,000 on your lavish finished basement.

Another reason homeowners avoid the permitting process is the time constraints, which involve submitting an application and gathering the necessary documents.

Gathering the necessary info can be lengthy, and some homeowners may not want to take the time to do it.

Lastly, permit fees can add up quickly, and some homeowners may choose to avoid them. They may forgo the permit and start the project without it in these cases.

Sometimes a homeowner doesn't even know it is happening. The process can be skipped if they don't hire the best contractors.

Whenever you hire a contractor to work at your home, you must ask them about getting the necessary permits.

Not having permits can be risky and lead to costly fines, repairs, and legal liabilities. It is vital for homeowners to understand the risks involved before deciding not to pursue permits for their projects.

As someone selling real estate for thirty-seven years, I can tell you that getting permits after the fact can be a nuisance. Before putting a home under contract, a good buyer's agent will research for their client to ensure permits are pulled when needed.

Final Thoughts on Building Permits in Massachusetts

Not getting proper building permits when they are required will eventually catch up to you.

In real estate sales, it is a topic of interest. Many real estate attorneys and brokers will check when purchasing a home as part of the due diligence process.

When it's discovered that there are no permits, it's unlikely they will let the issue slide.

Did you enjoy this advice on what to know about getting building permits for your Massachusetts home? See other real estate articles on NewsBreak for more timely tips and advice. Bill often writes about general real estate, mortgages, finance, moving, and home improvement.

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Bill Gassett is an avid writer for numerous real estate topics including finance, mortgages, moving, home improvement, and general real estate. His work has been featured on numerous prestigious real estate publications.

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