If you're considering upgrading your home make sure all of your paper work is in place! Typically with most home modifications , the local city or county has certain protocol that must be followed in accordance with building code and regulations .This could really be a headache if you are looking to sell your home in the future . Reason being that prospective buyers will need to have proof of the permits from the city or they may be looking at costly fines and fees from the state for failing to operate within the bounds of local ordinance .

This is just another reason why using a general contractor is a good idea. It maybe a little more costly as opposed to doing it yourself but you will have a well written contract that clearly states that all required paperwork will be handled in accordance with state and federal regulations .

Architectural Changes 

1) It is essential when adding or removing a load barring structure that you have a permit . Some examples could be balconies ,foundation flooring, sun rooms , porches or an elevated deck . All of these jobs require certain permitting.A good rule of thumb is typically a job that costs less than $5000 or a job smaller than 200sqft don't typically need permits but check with your city just to be sure.

Windows and Doors 

2) As odd as it may sound , if you would like to put in a bigger window or door frame , you will need to seek out a window or door pro who then will need to obtain these permits themselves before any work can go on . Cutting either on of these to fit a bigger size is tricky and can cause the integrity of the home to be compromised ( in a buyer or bank lenders eyes that is ). So before you go chopping away for that new skylight that your wife will love , make sure that city certifies you first.

Plumbing , Electrical , HVAC

3) Whenever dealing with anything such as plumbing , electrical or HVAC a certified personnel is typically the route to take .Just like the general contractor he will ensure you that all the needed paper work is dealt with and in order . Now jobs as small light fixtures or new suspended lamps/lights you may feel free to do on your own!

No Permits Necessary 

4) It must seem like you have to have a permit and a certified pro to do any kind of home improvement.Here are a list of jobs that you may do yourself without any permit necessary! New counter tops , installing hardwood floors or carpet , replacing a faucet or shower head . I would add a fence to this list but all you need to do for that is call and find out about height allowances that the city has set. 

Where can you get a Permit from you may ask ?

5)Typically the municipal courts will head up permitting and certifications