Do You Really Need Permits for Minor Renovations?


Well-known member
Aug 26, 2023
Here is an interesting question I found on Reddit I thought it would be interesting to discuss the topic here, so I am posting the question from a homeowner with skills in drywalling, rewiring outlets, and handling minor plumbing tasks.

This guy is in the process of renovating his kitchen with the intention of selling her house next year. However, he has been grappling with concerns about whether undertaking some of the minor renovation himself might pose issues when he eventually lists his property for sale. He says he has also been contemplating reaching out to the local city authorities for guidance on this matter, but he says he is hesitant.

Your thoughts and advice on this situation would be greatly appreciated!
United States
There are some minor projects that doesn't require a permit and I think that what he's planned to do in his kitchen shouldn't be needing a permit. Some of the works that you can do by yourself at home without needing a contractor for the job which doesn't need a permit are ;

1. Painting or wallpapering
2. Installing hardwood floors or carpeting
3. Minor electrical repairs that don't involve adding new or moving existing service
4. Installing new countertops
5. Replacing a faucet

There's no harm in him reaching out to the local authorities just to be sure. I would do that if I were in his shoes.
Well, there is no harm in reaching out to the local authorities because if you do something that requires permits but you did not apply for permits, you will land in hot waters. Getting permits can be a hassle though because in most places, it is a lengthy process.
The Reddit user stated he was remodeling his kitchen and that's a major renovation, not minor. I haven't come across any localities that don't require a permit for that, so I hope he obtained one. What I find strange in the guy states he's installing a new kitchen and then insists he's not doing anything major. If it's a new kitchen, then it's pretty major.
Permits for remodeling the kitchen go far beyond just verifying the electrical was done correctly. There are sanitary concerns, plumbing concerns, possible structural involvement. Most of the time a major kitchen remodel will require permits, but often times those are fairly fast to get. Failure to do the work without permits will result in a cloud on the title, putting the Realtor, seller and anyone else who touched the project at risk of a lawsuit. Additionally, if there is an issue and it was unpermitted work, insurance likely won't cover any damages or recovery.

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