I,m looking at homes in shrewsbury and surrounding,most need some updating ,can a homeowner get permits or are contractors required? Thanks

Asked by Michael Briggs, 37075 Fri Dec 16, 2011

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Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Fri Dec 16, 2011
It depends on the work being done, and the licenses that the homeowner has. I'd call the town where the property is (or look online at their web site) and ask what a homeowner is "allowed" to do themselves. If you contact a town department, I would not give any specific property address until you are ready to start the work, unless you want them watching your every move ahead of time.
1 vote
Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Fri Dec 16, 2011
Permits are required to make sure that the work done is up to the current building code. Some work may be beyond the abilities of the average homeowner. If th work can be done to current building codes then it may be acceptable. You should consult with the local inspectional services/building department to see what their guidelines are. Keep note that many jobs may require specialty tools that you can either rent or if having to purchase might make it more pratical to hire a contractor with these tools. Your local officials can best answer these types of questions & then make the decision based upon your own abilites & skills.

Hope that helps,
1 vote
Steve Levine, Agent, Shrewsbury, MA
Mon Sep 10, 2012
Homeowners can get permits themselves for all normal repairs other than plumbing. It's interesting that you can do your own electrical work, but not install your sink, and there's actually a reason for that. In short, the worst you can do by screwing up the electrical work is blow up your own home, but if you make a plumbing mistake you can contaminate the towns water supply, so they're very strict on that.

Make sure that you ALWAYS pull a permit, because most homeowners don't and get into issues later.

Also, make sure to take into account the fact that it's almost always better to buy something that doesn't need that kind of work - especially in the lower ranges. To buy a $250k home that needs 30K in work, means that you need come come up with 30K after closing. On the other hand, to buy a $280K home that doesn't need work would be a mortgage payment only about $100 more a month, and then it's turn key and ready to go.

There are so many lovely homes for sale that you shouldn't really have to settle for something beat up.

For a list of some new listings, go to http://www.shrewsbury-massachusetts.com and you can check out the map based search interface.


Steve Levine
REMAX First Choice
Shrewsbury's Top Agent since 1992

For more great information on the Shrewsbury real estate market, click the link below and check out my free video.
0 votes
Centsable In…, Other Pro, Framingham, MA
Mon Jan 16, 2012
Hi Michael,

To the best of my knowledge a home owner can apply for the permits.
Be prepared, have your plans and cost estimates, these may be required on the application.

When a home owner obtains the permit, it is done at the loss of the ability to file a claim against the guarantee fund in the event of an unresolved dispute against the home improvement contractor.

Make sure you include a request for an on-site inspection for the work performed. This may be an additional fee in some areas.

See the link to the FAQ for MA Building Permits

Best Regards,

Jim Mushinsky
Centsable Inspection
0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Thu Jan 5, 2012
You can pull your own permit but its not advisable. I guess it all depends on your project but I highly suggest you hire someone qualified and licensed to do the work.

Good luck!

Web Reference:  http://territory.com/
0 votes
Mikel DeFran…, Agent, Canton, MA
Sun Dec 25, 2011

You can do so as a homeowner but don't. You take on responsibility and liability that there is no need to do. Besides, when your contractor goes to pull the permit themselves the local building dept will check their licenses and insurance. For that and many other reasons, hire the licensed contractor and have them pull the permit.

Success! Real Estate – Mikel DeFrancesco
Real Estate in Massachusetts
direct: 617-755-8272
mike@successinmass.com http://www.SuccessInMass.com
0 votes
Heidi Zizza, Agent, Framingham, MA
Mon Dec 19, 2011
Are you qualified to do the work needed? If you are qualified you can pull your own permit but the Town inspectors will be checking your work. A qualified professional is always the best way to go.
0 votes
Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Fri Dec 16, 2011
A homeowner can pull there own building permit. Any electric and plumbing work done on the premises will need the licensed plumber and electrician to pull their own permit for the work they will be doing. Check with your local building dept.
0 votes
Barbara Van…, Agent, Shrewsbury, MA
Fri Dec 16, 2011
Yes, you can get the permit BUT don't. Hire a licensed contractor. The contractor should take out the permit for the work that he is doing. i.e the electrician gets the the electrical and the plumber gets the plumbing. That way if there is a problem with the work that they have performed, they are responsible. If you do not know good, reliable, licensed contractors, ask the building inspector to recommend some. Tip: Check with your state licensing which can be found online at mass.gov to make sure that their license is active and in good standing. Don't take their word for it. Ask me how I know!

I hope this helps.
0 votes
Jason Perry, , Manchester, NH
Fri Dec 16, 2011
Yes. Either of you can pull permits. Also yes the 203k or renovation loans are set up exactly for this type of circumstance. They aren't that bad to get and close on. Just need to make sure that you have a smart and experienced team around you.
If you want more info check out http://www.needrehabloan.com for some of my educational videos and training. Good luck. Jason
Web Reference:  http://www.needrehabloan.com
0 votes
Andrew Adams, , 01915
Fri Dec 16, 2011
You nailed it Scott!

Many homeowners want to tackle renovation projects as DIY(Do it Yourself) and don't realize that more oftenm than not they lack the experience and the proper tools to complete the job and at the end of the day they would have spent less money and had less srtress and frustration had they just hired a contractor in the first place. TLC has made home improvements seem easy!
0 votes
Andrew Adams, , 01915
Fri Dec 16, 2011
It will depend on the work you are looking to do. If you are looking to update an electrical panel you will need a licensed electrician.
0 votes
Mark Sacco, Agent, Northborough, MA
Fri Dec 16, 2011
Hi Michael -
In regards to permits, the answer is "it depends" ~ and it depends on the type of work being done.
For example, most heating, plumbing, and electrical work does need to be permitted.
General carpentry work can usually be done by the home owner.

If you're looking at homes that NEED repair, and you're looking at foreclosures, you'll find that most will need work and in some cases you'll need to secure a rehab (203K, FHA or otherwise) to take care of the work. 203Ks/Rehab loans do require licensed contractors ~ and the process for underwriting is a bit of a challenge.

Hope that helps a bit ...
0 votes
Richard Shap…, , Framingham, MA
Fri Dec 16, 2011
If a house is in "move in" condition. Systems work, kitchen and baths are complete, then you should have no issues. I assume you are looking at homes with dated interiors that will need some sprucing up?
0 votes
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