Building Without a Permit, Getting Permits After the Fact, & Selling Without Permits


Building Without a Permit, Getting Permits After the Fact, & Selling Without Permits

If you're looking to build on your property but attempting to do so without a permit, you may want to think again. That's because building without a permit may have some consequences.

A permit may be required, depending on the city you live in and the addition you're making to the property. If you're considering whether it’s worth the risk, here are a few aspects to take into account.


Here are some common reasons people often want to build without a permit:

  • Delays – Some cities are backed up in building permit applications and may take weeks to process. Homeowners sometimes take the risk of adding to their space and even selling a house without permits to avoid these delays.
  • Convenience – Building a house without a permit is not ideal because it leaves the potential for an undervalued home. Sometimes the new homeowners forgo getting a retroactive permit because it’s easier to add to their home than going through the review and inspection process before the permit application is even viewed.
  • Expense – Building permits aren’t free, and sometimes homeowners or contractors may build sans permit to avoid these expenses.


While you may have started the work before getting a permit, obtaining building permits after work is done may be a possibility. However, that permit price may be more than the original price and you could pay more fees if the inspection is failed.


What happens if you build without a permit? The consequences of building without a permit typically come in the form of a penalty.

If you want to avoid any “building without a permit” fines, consider the following situations before building an addition without a permit.

Selling a Home Without Permits

When you fail to get a permit and later try to sell a home, you may lose out on the potential increased value you would have received if you initially got the permit done correctly.

The home appraiser may not include the work in the appraisal. This lowers the home’s value for future sales. Selling a house that has work done without permit by the previous owner may also mean you’ll face fines, and you may have to get it redone so that it passes local building codes.


Building an Addition Without Permits

There are also penalties for building additions to your home sans permits if you’re addition doesn’t comply to local standards and laws. Moreover, the penalty for building without a permit varies based on your location.

Building a Basement Sans Permit

What happens if I finish my basement without a permit? Always check with the city coding department to determine if making a change to your basement sans a permit will cost you more in the end.

Building a Deck Without a Permit

When you build a deck, it may change the structure or appearance of your home. In some cities, building a deck without a permit may require a fine in addition to the inspection fee and permit application.

Building a Structure Without a Permit

Structures may also require permits, too. For example, if you build a shed without a permit, you may not have to face a penalty. For instance, the city of Houston exempts permit requirements for residential accessory structures, including storage sheds, as long as they are less than 200 square feet.

However, if your city requires a permit for the shed, then you could face penalties. Building a structure without a permit in the city of Houston may run the cost of the permit fee plus the investigation fee per occurrence.


The proper City of Houston planning and permitting is important if you want to avoid any potential extra fees or fines for not getting a building permit in the first place. Instead, opt for getting a permit when you’re adding an addition to your home.

If you need custom home plans in Houston before undergoing your next project, contact the experts at Plans & Permits today!

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