Home remodels are an exciting phase for any homeowner because they usually mean finally having something that’s felt like it’s been missing from the home. But before you jump too far into the process, there are some things to consider as far as preparation goes that can prevent serious headaches from happening mid-project.
Homeowner’s Association Regulations
If your home resides in an HOA-controlled neighborhood, there may be regulations to consider that affect what types of changes you can make — or what channels you’ll need to go through in order to get them done. Any changes that affect the home’s structure, or sometimes things like plumbing and electrical work, can require HOA approval requirements. If you move forward without getting their ‘OK’ there may be penalties or fines, and it can complicate selling the property. Each homeowner’s association has its own CC&R (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) that act as guidelines for how all the homeowners in that neighborhood must manage their homes. For instance, some HOA neighborhoods may have rules on driveways and parking situations, what exterior paint colors are allowed, what outdoor decorations people can display, etc. There may also be height and width restrictions for your home, which become important if you’re planning to expand/enlarge the home. Having all of this double-checked before dealing with a home remodeling contractor can save time and prevent hassle once construction begins.
City Permits for Expansions and Alterations
Building permits are official authorizations issued by your city or county to make changes to your property. Mostly these are to ensure the work will be done safely and will involve qualified professionals, and ensure things are done within compliance of building and zoning codes. Some types of home remodels do not require any local permits, but it’s always good to check before beginning the work so you don’t get in trouble with local authorities after the fact. One place people often get stung for having done that is when planning to sell their home. When the home inspectors perform the mandatory review, if they see certain expansions that don’t have proper permits they may not sign off on the inspection, which would then cause issues with the sale of the property. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your contractor during the planning phase of the project. They will often be able to tell you whether permits will be needed and can help you with the submission and approval process. Types of renovation that may require local permits include:
- Adding or removing walls
- Converting room functions, such as turning a garage into a living room
- Reroofing the house
- Adding sheds, porches, or other structures on the property
Failing to obtain proper permits for home renovation projects can, at minimum, mean that you’ll be hit with additional fees/fines after completion. But sometimes the city may go as far as to shut the project down while it’s in progress and may require you to tear down or dismantle any new structures you’ve added. Obviously, that’s a mess no one wants, which is why it’s always better to ask first.
Insurance Compliance and Staying on Schedule
You never want to be in a situation where renovations you’ve done to your home end up being a reason your insurance company denies a claim in the future when there’s damage to the property. For instance, if you reroofed your house without proper permits they may not cover roof damage from a storm since, from their stance, there’s no assurance the work was done properly and therefore no assurance that the current damage isn’t a result of the roof not having been installed properly. But beyond insurance considerations, having the paperwork in order helps ensure everything can wrap up by the deadlines you have in mind. Construction teams often have tight schedules of their own, and if they’ve budgeted a certain set of time for your project and delays mean phases aren’t completed by then, you may be left waiting while they move onto other jobs until they can return to finish. Depending on what you were having done, that could mean being without toilets and showers, access to the garage, or having an unusable porch area. Contact us today to discuss your ideas for your next home remodel project! We can help with everything from planning to construction, and help ensure none of what we described here happens to you!