Hi Mary Lee,
Just as in any area, Orinda requires a licensed contractor to pull permits for many renovations. That's not to say the majority of homeowners take this step; as an Orinda broker I see many unpermitted additions, modifications, etc. For the specifics on buying out another tenant-in-common, your attorney or accountant can give you the best advice. We can tell you that the Orinda market remains strong, even in this slower time. We still see multiple offers on some properties, especially in the over a million price range.