Thinking of making some improvements to your home? Obtain a permit.

Most people know that a building permit is required before starting to build a new home or commercial building, but many are surprised to learn that building permits are also required for many small jobs. .

If you are planning to do more than just apply a new coat of paint to the side of your residential or commercial building, it is prudent to determine if the changes or additions you are considering require a visit from the city building inspector. or county.

Add a room or a garage, install or build a shed or an accessory building, install or repair a roof; installing fences, swimming pools, slabs and sprinkler systems (yes, sprinkler systems!) certainly requires a permit. Permits are also required for demolition and excavation; for changes to electrical, plumbing and heating systems, and for mobile home installations.

Obtaining a permit is important for a number of reasons, with health and safety at the top of the list. Inspections carried out during the various phases of construction or modification ensure that structural integrity is maintained and that all mechanical systems meet or exceed minimum operating and safety standards.

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While it is not illegal to buy or sell property that does not meet applicable codes (if it did, real estate agents would not be able to sell “fixer-uppers”), it It is important that all known deficiencies are fully disclosed. In legal circles, full disclosure includes informing the buyer about the possible consequences they might face as a result of purchasing a property without the proper permit.

One of the most serious consequences of purchasing a property whose permit is contested or of failing to obtain a permit when a permit is required could include bringing the addition into code compliance. or modification. However, this can be inconvenient when the items to be inspected are hidden in walls or buried under a concrete slab. In the worst case, building officials may even demand that an illegal structure or modification be removed or demolished. Ironically, you will need a demolition permit before you can begin work.

How many permits are issued each month in our region? In the first eight months of this year, the city of Las Cruces issued 6,466 individual permits. Of the total, 668 were for the construction of new single-family homes and 75 for the construction of new commercial buildings. The remaining number of permits were for modifications or additions to residential and commercial buildings, rock faces, roof replacements, electrical and plumbing repairs and many other additions or modifications. The total value of the authorized work was $ 234,338,330, according to City of Las Cruces records.

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When planning your project, keep in mind that obtaining a permit does not automatically make the addition or modification legal. Before this can happen, all applicable inspections must be completed and “approved” before work is officially approved.

If you have any questions about the need for permits for your project, contact the City of Las Cruces Community Development Department at 575-528-3222 (, or the Dona Ana County Building Services Division at 575-647-7350 (

By the way, it can be a good idea to make friends with your neighbors. According to information on the city’s building permits until August 31 this year, 56 of them have installed new swimming pools.

See you at closing!

Gary Sandler is a full-time real estate agent and president of Gary Sandler Inc., real estate agents in Las Cruces. He loves to answer questions and can be reached at 575-642-2292 or [email protected]

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