Home Improvements and the Importance of Permits

Dated: January 12 2020

Views: 159

What every homeowner needs to know

This time of year we tend to prioritize our project list, myself included, to tackle those  “do-it yourself” projects and/or schedule contractors for those bigger projects too difficult or timely to do ourselves.  It’s exciting when planning to finish the bonus room, basement or perhaps the walk-up attic that offers great potential when finished.  Do you know that many of the improvements we make to our homes require a permit? They do! To name just a few that get flagged when selling are: finished basements, decks, sheds, new roof, fence, wood/pellet stoves, hot tubs and generators.  Before starting any improvement, your first call should be to consult with the building department. By doing so, you will know if a permit is required and the necessary steps to follow  that will ensure safety and compliance on your improvements, whether new or existing. 

Opening a permit

Opening a permit with the building department requires a few follow-through steps to finalize and close the permit. Once the work is completed, be sure that the permit you opened is then closed. You’ll receive a copy of the Certificate of Compliance for your records, an IMPORTANT document to keep in your files. Any electrical work that is done, such as hot tubs, swimming pools, finished basements, generators, to name a few, will likely require a separate electrical inspection be completed by an independent electrical inspector approved by the building department that you hire. Your electrician is not able to do this. A sticker will be placed on your electric panel to indicate the work has been inspected and approved.  When selling your home, having the required paperwork and inspections on file will ensure that it’s in compliance and not get flagged as a violation. This will save you time, money and aggravation when selling. 

 Not having necessary permits creates obstacles when selling

Not having the necessary permits on file with the building department will create obstacles when selling your home and cause delays with your closing and add additional costs that may not have been factored in previously. Your local building department will work with you to address measures early on. You can also visit the building department webpages on the Warwick town/village websites for additional building permit applications and information. 

Be proactive

Whether you’re planning on selling your home or getting started on home improvements, being proactive on your investment will have the best outcome if it’s done to code and in compliance.  Check with the building department to determine whether the improvements you’re planning to do or have previously done require a permit before you replace/install a roof, windows, deck, pool, shed, hot tub, septic, remove/install oil tanks, fences, finishing basements, attics & bonus rooms, just  to name a few. Check the fine print on estimates as you may be charged a fee for the permit, however not always followed through. Usually contractors place the responsibility on the homeowner to file the proper permits. However, it’s best to open the permit  at the time the work is being done so you can ensure the work is up to code as to building department requirements.  

If you have  questions regarding your home and getting ready to sell, just call Jennifer, your neighborhood realtor and advocate. 


Warwick Town Building Dept. 845-986-1124 x260

Warwick Village Building Dept. 845-986-2031 Ext 107

Florida Village Building Dept. 845-651-7626

Greenwood Lake Village Building Dept. 845-477-9215

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Jennifer DiCostanzo

Associate Broker Jennifer DiCostanzo and her family live in Warwick, New York. Her husband is a 25+ year veteran of the FDNY. Jennifer’s children, Olivia and Ryan, both attended and graduated from ....

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