It’s important for homeowners to set a budget at the start of every home remodeling project. In fact, this should be the first step homeowners take after deciding they want to remodel. Homeowners typically know to include the cost of materials and labor when creating a remodeling budget, but they often forget to include the building permit cost.
What is a Building Permit?
A building permit is a document that gives a homeowner permission to move forward with construction or remodeling projects on their property. Local governments require these permits to ensure that construction and renovation projects meet certain safety, health, and land use standards.
A building permit is typically not required when the construction or renovation is minor. However, building permits are usually required when the project involves adding onto or changing the original structure of your home.
Every state, county, and city has its own rules regarding when building permits are needed and how they are issued. For this reason, it’s important to contact local authorities to determine the rules that apply to your remodeling project.
How Much Does A Building Permit Cost?
Local agencies that establish the rules surrounding building permits are also responsible for determining how much it will cost to obtain a permit. Because of this, the cost of a building permit varies by location. It is estimated that the average cost of a permit is about $1,221, but costs often fall anywhere between $441 and $2,000. It’s possible for the cost of a building permit to fall outside of this range, too. Some small cities and counties only charge their residents about $100 to obtain a building permit, whereas the cost of a permit in a big city can be thousands of dollars.
Your location is not the only factor that affects the cost of a permit. Other factors that can affect the cost include:
- The size and age of your home
- The complexity of the remodel
- Inspection fees
- Number of permits required
- The value of the work performed on the home
Because so many factors can affect the price, the cost of a building permit varies greatly on a project-by-project basis.
How to Budget For Building Permits
Building permits are not cheap. If homeowners forget to include the cost of a building permit in their budget, they may not have enough money left over after obtaining the permit to complete the project. To avoid this problem, it’s important for homeowners to work with their contractors to identify the permits that are needed to complete their plans. Then, find out how much each permit will cost so you can adjust your budget accordingly.
It’s also important for homeowners to discuss obtaining the required building permits with their contractor. Some contractors agree to obtain all of the necessary building permits on their own, whereas others leave this task up to the homeowners. To avoid delays, discuss this issue with your contractor during the planning stage so you know who is responsible for obtaining the building permits. If the contractor agrees to handle the building permits, he will need to incorporate the costs of obtaining the permits into the final estimate for your project.
The Budget Breakdown
It’s important to know how the money you are investing in a remodel will be spent. Here’s a look at the typical remodeling budget breakdown:
- The basics (flooring, framing, drywall): 10-20% of the budget
- Electrical and plumbing: 10-20% of the budget
- Materials and installation: 30-70% of the budget
- Miscellaneous expenses (building permits, unexpected problems, etc.): 5-10% of the budget
If you want to stay within your remodeling budget, it’s important to plan for every possible expense that could arise during the project, including the cost of obtaining building permits. Don’t wait for your contractor to ask about building permits–talk to him as soon as possible to determine if you need a permit and if so, how much it will cost.