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I *want* my basement to meet all of the reasonable codes, (there are few that just seem to be the result of a bored bureaucrat) but at the same time, I'm scared of the hassle of the inspections and the potential cost is staggering.
Example: I have "daylight" windows in the basement. As a 200+ lb adult, I could get through them if I had to, but at 9 sq feet and 52" from the floor, they don't meet egress standards. Estimated cost for new windows and cutting of foundation: about $2,000.
Another example: My 3-year old home is in a new sub. The city hasn't kept up with the assessments very well, but my home and the ones near it have appreciated nicely - and this is before I add living space and value to the home. The permit process is all but guaranteed to make my taxes skyrocket. That might be inevitable anyway, but if I stay in this house for 5-7 more years, rushing it could cost me thousands PER YEAR. Add that to the extra costs required by the codes and keeping the job a secret all seems worth it. Paying even 4x what that lady did for her electrical repairs is a bargain.
I can't find the math that makes a permit worthwhile if the only risk is bringing up to code at the time of sale (not even close, in fact). But what about liability? What if the next owner of my home buys it as-is and has a fire in the basement I built? If his kids can't climb out the window that I didn't enlarge, can he sue me and take my NEXT house???
I've scanned through this forum and talked to neighbors, contractors and friends. Everyone has an opinion, but they also all seem to think it's an easy decision one way or another.