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Counties with cheap or no building permits


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By Peter in Corona, AL on 2/9/2016


Hello,

I have wanted to build my own modest house and not so modest workshop/hangar my whole life. I find that land is available at almost reasonable prices, but my stumbling block is the often outrageous cost of permits. In California you're lucky if you get away with less than $50,000 in fees before you can even think about sticking a spade in the ground.

What I am looking for is first hand experiences and examples of people who have built a home anywhere in the country (but especially the warmer states) where the permits were either nonexistent or cheap. Let me know where, what was required and how much you spent.

Every other place I posted this question results in various people (contractors?) chiming in to tell me how building codes are there to protect us all, blablabla ad nauseum. Please - I have heard it all before. I am not trying to build an unsightly deathtrap, but I refuse to pay such outrageous sums which border on legalized extortion, that is all. I am amenable to certain reasonable standards and reasonable fees, but not in the thousands and tens of thousands.

Please let me know if you had favorable experiences in this regard and where. Thanks.

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By Gary in Burke, AL on 2/17/2016


I'm in South Dakota, and we are going to build a panelized home. While it's cold here, it's a good life :)

The county that I am in has a $10 building permit fee, and the permit is good for two years (our "builders" are sloooow, that's why we're doing it ourselves).

The state of South Dakota allows you to do your own work on your house, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. It DOES have to be inspected, just like it would for a contractor. The state also provides information on what they require for code and inspections, so it's not too bad.

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By Peter in Corona, AL on 2/20/2016


Thanks, that is the kind of information I was looking for. I do not object to certain standards and inspections are fine, as long as they are not totally exorbitant. A little chilly in SD for me, but who knows?

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By Chris in Seattle, AL on 4/18/2016


I think it's only California that is that expensive. I'm going to be building in Reno, NV and the total cost for all permits is under $2,000. I did my first O-B in Seattle, WA 15 years ago and the total permit cost then was around $1,500, and I don't think it's gone up that much since then.

The difficulty was in convincing them I was competent to actually build a home. Once they saw my quality of work they eased up somewhat.

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