Whether you're a landlord, a developer, or a rehabber, chances are if you invest in real estate there will eventually come a time in which you have to get a permit. Minor renovations all the way to major development or rehab projects require a permit, leading investors to wonder how long it takes to get a permit and how the permit process will impact their bottom line. Read on to find out what a permit is, how much a permit costs, how long it can take to get a permit, and how to speed up the permitting process when working with your local government.
What is a permit?
A permit is formal approval from a local municipality authorizing the restoration, repair, replacement, or development of real estate-related projects.
Some of the various types of permits:
- Building permit.
- Development permit.
- Mechanical permit.
- Plumbing permit.
- Electrical permit.
- Occupancy permit.
- Construction permit.
- Trade permit.
- Zoning permit.
How long can it take to get a permit?
The timeline from application to permit issuance will vary by each local municipality, meaning investors should check with their local government's building department to find out exactly what type of projects require permits as well as the average timeline for receiving them. Larger projects, like commercial real estate development, may have longer timelines than minor or even a mid-scale renovation to an existing building or residential project for example. That's because the complexity and scale of the project requires the permit official to complete a more in-depth review of the site plan, zoning laws, and construction plan.
In most cases, any work that requires a permit should be applied for and completed by a licensed contractor, engineer, or tradesperson such as a licensed plumber or electrician. However, there are some types of permits that allow the property owner to complete the work themselves.
Some counties or cities, especially those that offer online permit applications, can issue permits in as little as a few days to a few weeks. Others, especially if there is a large backlog because of demand for permits, can take several weeks up to a month. Below are some of the more popular city and county timelines according to their websites.