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Basement Finishing and Renovations Has it been 2 years already? Time to work on finishing the basement into some extra living space.


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Old 2014-06-23, 09:59 AM
TheGrudge TheGrudge is offline
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Default Permit for Basement - Why All the Hate?

My wife and I are currently living in our second new home.

In our last house, we finished the basement but I didn't get a permit of any kind. That said, I have total confidence that everything was done to code. We had a family friend wire the basement (he's an electrician), and another family friend install the fixtures and drain in the washroom (he's a plumber).

I also called in a mutual friend who's been in the drywall trade for years to do the mudding because I knew if I did it, it would look awful!

Anyway, while I always felt we had one of the better basements in our area (a few of the open houses we went to were scary), I felt concerned about not getting a permit when we went to sell the place. It turned out to be a non-issue as it sold very quickly, but it's one regret I had.

This time around I've obtained a permit. I just finished framing my basement (I used Blu-Wood) and I'm getting ready for spray foam (another family acquaintance - yes I'm lucky!). I just can't believe all the hate I'm getting for actually getting a permit this time. When I told the people at work I was having an inspector come out to check my framing, most people were appalled. "Why would you get a permit? It'll cost you more money".

My response is that yes, it cost me $200 on a project that's going to be about $15k-$20k. That's not a big investment from my point of view. I'll know the work is up to code, and if we decide to sell I can tout the fact that I used top notch products (blu wood, spray foam, Barricade subfloor) and it was all 100% approved and safe.

I just don't get people sometimes.

The point of this post is to seek out experiences other people have had in this regard. Guys like Mike Holmes and Brian Baeumler are always talking about permits, permits, permits, yet the public and a lot of the tradespeople just look at you in disgust when you do things properly.

That bugs me.

How do we change this mindset?
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Old 2014-06-23, 10:11 AM
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BrianT BrianT is offline
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I hear you. My favourite idiom comes to mind, penny wise and pound foolish!
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Old 2014-06-23, 10:52 AM
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gerapau gerapau is offline
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Can't really answer your question but, to me, getting a permit is the right thing to do. That said, you will end up spending more than the $200 because now that the city knows about your finished basement you can expect your assessment to go up and that will raise your taxes. On our old place our finished basement ended up raising our property taxes by about 6-7%.
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Old 2014-06-23, 10:57 AM
TheGrudge TheGrudge is offline
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Originally Posted by gerapau View Post
Can't really answer your question but, to me, getting a permit is the right thing to do. That said, you will end up spending more than the $200 because now that the city knows about your finished basement you can expect your assessment to go up and that will raise your taxes. On our old place our finished basement ended up raising our property taxes by about 6-7%.
Yeah - that's a bummer. But still, worth it IMO.
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Old 2014-06-23, 03:29 PM
R.F.D. R.F.D. is offline
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I had people laugh and snicker...but i have my permit and can sell with confidence.

Be careful regarding your "friend" doing electrical....ESA is not a fan of that type of work.
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Old 2014-06-23, 03:32 PM
TheGrudge TheGrudge is offline
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That's what I'm referring to.

You go to the trouble to have all the work inspected and checked in an effort to make sure things are done properly - and it leads to snickering.

I'm just not a fan of the slap it up, that's good enough mentality.
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Old 2014-06-23, 09:50 PM
richyrich richyrich is offline
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I'm totally agreed with getting permits - city and ESA. If I buy any second-hand home in future, I'll always ask about work done and permits for sure.

My reason - a house on my old street had a DIY-basement with no permits. Looked great and I've no reason to think it was bad work but when they sold a year or so later, the buyers made permits a condition. Cue major headaches - enough wall/ceiling had to be opened up for the city and ESA to do retrospective inspections on framing, plumbing, wiring etc. Not always easy and I know it was a major PITA for them. IMO with the risk of being unsellable and the possibility that the work isn't done as well as you think, it's just not worth skimping on permits, whatever the reason.

Aren't there also issues with insurance, possible fines in some cities etc?
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Old 2014-06-24, 09:12 AM
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gerapau gerapau is offline
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Aren't there also issues with insurance, possible fines in some cities etc?
If you don't get permits and have someone else do the electrical then your insurance may not pay if there is a fire and will leave you to go after the person who did the electrical. If you do it yourself then they will usually cover you even if a stupid mistake causes a fire.
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Old 2014-06-24, 09:14 AM
TheGrudge TheGrudge is offline
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If you don't get permits and have someone else do the electrical then your insurance may not pay if there is a fire and will leave you to go after the person who did the electrical. If you do it yourself then they will usually cover you even if a stupid mistake causes a fire.
This is exactly what my agent told me as well. He said they expect home owners to mess around with things to some extent, so for that you're covered.
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Old 2014-06-24, 09:36 AM
R.F.D. R.F.D. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrudge View Post
That's what I'm referring to.

You go to the trouble to have all the work inspected and checked in an effort to make sure things are done properly - and it leads to snickering.

I'm just not a fan of the slap it up, that's good enough mentality.
at minimum when I started to get lazy it caused me to fix anything I knew was not done right, there wasn't much but I made sure it was done properly because I knew the city was coming in for a once over...I too have gone to several open houses many with finished basements and the work is terrible and usually incomplete, first thing I open the panel to see the esa sticker....9/10 not there. Ask the agent if work completed is permitted usually get a shoulder shrug...

I consistently fall into the trap of a hot real estate market even if I am interested in a home my conditions of permits would not stand as there is someone always right behind cash in hand willing to take the risk, two homes I have been very interested in sold in 7 hours and 2 hours respectively, the 2 hour one over asking....
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