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Obtaining Permits in Marin County When Remodeling a Home is Critical

“Does this work require a permit?” is an often-asked question I’ve heard many times from friends and clients alike. Decades ago, when I was just starting out with remodeling what turned out to be a series of homes, I asked the same question. More times than not, the answer is yes. Permits in Marin are a necessity and it is often a case of pay now or pay later.

Building codes and guidelines change from year to year and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally, most remodel work performed on your home in Marin requires a permit.

When my clients ask me about Marin County permits – I say – get them.  Why?

Reasons to Obtain A Permit When Remodeling Your Home:

  • Do It Right

    Permits help ensure work is done to code and corners aren’t cut by your contractor.

  • Resale Inspections

    Many Marin towns have resale inspections which look for non-permitted work – more below.

  • Disclosures

    Any non-permitted work should be disclosed to buyers.

  • Negative Perception

    Buyers see any work performed without a permit as a negative.

Marin County Permits: What Are Resale Inspections?

number of Marin jurisdictions require resale inspections prior to the sale of a home. During these inspections, a building official inspects the home for safety and code violations and identifies work that may have been performed without a permit. The seller or buyer of the home is required to correct any violations within a certain amount of time after the close of escrow. This is not something a buyer usually is willing to take on so more often than not the burden rests on the home seller. Remediation steps range from the small – such as installing GFCI outlets in a bathroom – to the significant, such as removing bathrooms or sheds.

Often further work must be done to comply with current codes and the work must be re-inspected. During  the tight timeline of most escrow periods, this can be very time-consuming and costly, and can jeopardize your Marin real estate transaction. It is not as simple as paying a fine and moving on. In short, it is a needless and avoidable headache.

Hope is Not a Plan

Remember, hope is not a plan. I have heard friends say “I don’t want to deal with a permit, I’ll just hope they don’t catch this when I go to sell the home.” This is not a sound approach to one of your most valuable assets – your Marin home. Waiting until later means you will be subject to the codes at the time of the inspection, not the time of the construction. If your contractor says he’ll “do it all to code” without a permit, consider finding a new contractor. If the codes change – and they change often – the fact that the non-permitted work was performed to code won’t matter – you as the homeowner will be required to bring that work up to current codes and regulations – which might involve changes in setbacks from property lines and other very challenging situations.

Let Me Help You

As a top Marin real estate agent, I am happy to help you make the right decisions before you begin your remodel. I can give you more information on Marin County permits based on my decades of experience remodeling and selling homes in Marin. Please call or text me at 415-847-5584 or complete the below contact form.