Angie's List: Do I need a permit? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Angie's List: Do I need a permit?

Do you need a permit to renovate your bathroom? What about to build a deck? It can be confusing for homeowners to figure out, but it shouldn't be ignored.

"We're removing an inside wall to make a more open space and actually moving the kitchen to the opposite of the room, making it an open kitchen with an island," said homeowner Mark Stauffer.

Stauffer has lived in this home for 35 years and he decided it's time to make some updates.

"There is electrical, plumbing, and structural work being done and those all require permits," said Stauffer.

Whether your home improvement project requires a permit varies depending on where you live, but most laws require that you not build, move, significantly alter or add to a building without a permit.

"It actually provides you important protection. For example, in some scenarios a contractor must be licensed in order to get the permit so it adds an extra layer of protection for you," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks. 

Remodeler Thomas Pearson says a fair amount of planning must be done before obtaining a permit.

"It's very important that if a room addition is being built that the setbacks are correct. There's a certain amount you are supposed to have and planning is the most important part of the job. If the planning is done very well in the beginning then the rest of the job will run well," said Pearson.

Experts say a permit for a small project may cost in the $100 range or less, while a bigger project -- like a home addition -- can cost more than $900. If you skip the permit process in order to save a few bucks Angie's List warns you could end up paying more in the long run.

"If you skip pulling a permit you might end up paying fines, it could stop the work being done, they may make you re-do it. In some scenarios when it comes down to electrical work and the electrical work causes a fire your homeowner's insurance may not cover it," said Hicks.

Angie's List says if a contractor asks you not to obtain a permit, that could be a red flag.

Experts say whether you're hiring a contractor or doing the work yourself, check with your local building department to see if you need a permit. Do your own research and question any contractor who remodels without obtaining the necessary permits.

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