Basement Building Permits and Inspections


To get or not to get a building permit, that is the question. It’s not as difficult as you might think and I strongly recommend a permit in all cases of finishing your basement.

It starts by calling up or visiting your city building department and asking how to get a permit. I called them up and they walked me through the process and told me what I needed before officially applying for a permit.  Essentially all I needed was a design plan for my basement and to fill out a generic building application permit.

Once I had that information I brought it in in a nice little paper-clipped packet and waited a few days for approval. After approval you write a check and you’re good to go. Again, I recommend a permit for finishing your basement in all cases and here are the main reasons:

1) Resale Value
– A lot of home buyers will request to see permits for any obvious additions or finished basements. If you don’t have one you’ve just lowered the value of your home in the home buyers’ eyes. It may be the best finished basement this side of the Mississippi, but that won’t help you here.
– Do yourself a favor and get top dollar for your finished basement when you turn around and sell your home.

2) Safety of Occupants
– When you purchase a permit you’re subject to an inspection by the city. While this may seem like a bad thing, this means everything will be required to meet code and will make you and your family as safe as possible in your finished basement.

3) Access to Inspectors
– Don’t know if you’re doing something right or up to code? Call the inspector! I got to know my inspector real well over the course of my basement finishing project and had many questions answered throughout the duration.
– I even asked the inspector to stop by before I started finishing my basement to get his two cents on my layout plan, issues I might come across, and get my general questions answered. A huge help!

The choice is truly yours, and if you’re extremely budget conscious you may consider not getting a permit for finishing your basement. The money you spend on a permit today will only be multiplied when you sell the home, so don’t let that stop you.


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