Check permits before purchase

Illegal additions hurt resale value, add to costs

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It can be a hassle to go through your local building department permit procedure when you make changes to your home. You or your contractor must apply for permits, pay fees and meet building inspectors to approve the work in progress. Sometimes there are complicating factors. Recently, sellers of a home in the Oakland Hills (Calif.) decided to have wood-destroying pest work done before their home went on the market to make the property more appealing. The contractor applied for a permit and the plan for the repair work was approved by the city. City inspectors inspected the job twice while the work was being done. When a different inspector came out to give final approval, he refused to do so and required that more work be done. Why should homeowners go through this aggravation and expense when they can do the work more quickly and save money by skipping permits? Even though the permit process doesn't always work efficiently, there are good reasons to apply for permits for w...