Question for Metro Atlanta Builders & Developers

17 Replies

For those of you experienced in building spec homes in metro Atlanta, could you give me a rough estimate as to the length of the permitting process along with an estimate of the costs/fees involved?  I'm more interested in the estimate relative to an Atlanta city infill lot, either in Fulton or Dekalb counties.  Assume you already have your architectural design and plans and the lot has not been cleared.  What's the average or approximate time to budget from the day you submit the first permit request until you can stick a shovel in the ground?  Costs? 

David Begley MBA, Begley Capital Investments, LLC | [email protected] | GA Agent # 357208

@David Begley


I have done several permits for tear downs and then new builds, I have not done any straight land to build. 

As far as City of Atl and permits. I use a Permit Expeditor which ballpark cost me 1k. Then there are roughly 800 to 1k in fees from the cities. 

As far as time to get the permit. That is the biggest guess as it can go a little all over the board. I would say if you passed on everything the very first time and you needed no changes whatsoever. From the time you submit till the time you can start 2 weeks. BUT I am not saying that is very likely at all. 

We normally budget 1k for permits, 1k for expeditors, and 30 to 45 days for permits. 

Hope that shines a little light. 

AC

Medium ac logoAndrew Cordle, Andrew Cordle | [email protected]

@David Begley  -

1. Permitting took approx 3-4 months for us (for a home that is City of Atlanta and in Dekalb County). Given that the submitted package is bulletproof, I agree with @Andrew Cordle  it can take less time.

2. Cost of permits is based on cost of construction. Expect permit fees to range between $1,000 - $2,000 and a good expeditor should cost between $1,000 (average) - $1,500 (high).

Let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.

Originally posted by @Abhi Golhar :

@David Begley -

1. Permitting took approx 3-4 months for us (for a home that is City of Atlanta and in Dekalb County). Given that the submitted package is bulletproof, I agree with @Andrew Cordle  it can take less time.

2. Cost of permits is based on cost of construction. Expect permit fees to range between $1,000 - $2,000 and a good expeditor should cost between $1,000 (average) - $1,500 (high).

Let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you.

 Thank you Andrew and Abhi.  I have only experience in one-off requests like an electrical permit, residential general repair permit, etc (and those were bad enough) but have heard it can be a nightmare with a total construction permit, especially if large-scale clearing of trees (arborists permit) is required. If it can be done in 4-6 weeks as Andrew stated, that isn't too bad and can be planned, but if the process is takes 3-4 months, or longer, as Abhi suggested, that could be problematic especially if financing and/or working with slim margins.  

David Begley MBA, Begley Capital Investments, LLC | [email protected] | GA Agent # 357208

@David Begley  - I tend to always plan for the worst case and include an extra few months of carry in my numbers, just as a precaution. I've witnessed scenarios where permitting took between 8-10 months, and longer, if not done correctly.

Originally posted by @Abhi Golhar :

@David Begley - I tend to always plan for the worst case and include an extra few months of carry in my numbers, just as a precaution. I've witnessed scenarios where permitting took between 8-10 months, and longer, if not done correctly.

 Have you encountered situations where you've contracted with expediters and the permitting not done correctly?  If so, what is the point of using them if they're not capable of navigating the process quickly?  (I apologize if asking stupid questions!) 

David Begley MBA, Begley Capital Investments, LLC | [email protected] | GA Agent # 357208

@David Begley   @Abhi Golhar  

David, I agree with Abhi, these permits for new builds etc can be a nightmare. I am dealing with a complete pain in the butt with Brookhaven right now. It as been close to 3 months and still no permits. 

One thing I am going to try next time is I heard you can hire a architect engineer firm and when they finish the city will pass their plans with no changes, as it as a stamp from the engineer. I am looking at a company called Blue Door Architect and they do plans like I am speaking of above. 

Of course they are costing double to design, but time is money.. 

AC

Medium ac logoAndrew Cordle, Andrew Cordle | [email protected]

Originally posted by @Andrew Cordle :

@David Begley  @Abhi Golhar  

David, I agree with Abhi, these permits for new builds etc can be a nightmare. I am dealing with a complete pain in the butt with Brookhaven right now. It as been close to 3 months and still no permits. 

One thing I am going to try next time is I heard you can hire a architect engineer firm and when they finish the city will pass their plans with no changes, as it as a stamp from the engineer. I am looking at a company called Blue Door Architect and they do plans like I am speaking of above. 

Of course they are costing double to design, but time is money.. 

AC

 Have either one of you gone through that process compounded with a zoning variance request?  (If it isn't yet apparent, I'm trying to build up my nerve to attempt a spec build on an infill lot - the one I mentioned to you at the luncheon Andrew - and am pretty sure I'll need a zoning variance approval, along with the permits.)

David Begley MBA, Begley Capital Investments, LLC | [email protected] | GA Agent # 357208

@David Begley

I have done some zoning variances before in ATL. And it is very doable, but it will add more time and you will have to jump through more hoops. 

It is also easier to rezone when downsizing meaning if it is zoned as a triplex and you would want to go to a SFR. I understand that is not what you are trying to do, but just some general info.

AC

Medium ac logoAndrew Cordle, Andrew Cordle | [email protected]

@David Begley  

I agree with @Andrew Cordle  , I've been through a few of those and it's definitely possible, but significantly more work. 

I'd be happy to take a look at your deal and give you additional insight if you would like.

@Andrew Cordle  Btw, good luck on the Brookhaven new build, I'm about to start 2-3 projects there and may connect with you for insights.

@Andrew Cordle  @Abhi Golhar   If you guys see me going door-to-door on one of the streets off Dresden to see if I can buy and tear down their home, don't run me over!  

David Begley MBA, Begley Capital Investments, LLC | [email protected] | GA Agent # 357208

Great Information. To add one point: if you need  a water meter order it the day the permit is received ( its in the same building). I just waited 20 weeks for a water meter. Dept of Watershed is not well run.

@Andrew Cordle  

Have you ever applied for a zoning variance in City of Brookhaven?

@Abhi Golhar

Brookhaven has been a nightmare. I guess from what I have heard once they split from ATL they hired an outside company to do their permits then I suppose they had some kind of split and now Brookhaven is doing the permits and it is taking an extremely slow process. 

@David Begley   I promise I won't run you over if you are door knocking... but when I see contract in your hand well then it is FAIR game.... :)

@Mike Salisbury     I have not done a zoning variance in Brookhaven I may have to do one on this house I am building but if I do it will be a small variance and I hope it is a smooth process.

Medium ac logoAndrew Cordle, Andrew Cordle | [email protected]

@David Begley  Hilarious. Might just go out and buy a H1 (or maybe a Prius) and drive around Dresden ;-).

@Andrew Cordle  Thanks for the info & heads up. Let me know if I can help you with anything.

Just a general reply:

I'm new to the forum, so don't beat me up too bad.

I have been in commercial general contracting for 12 years. I used an expediter last year to push a permit through and got it in less than a week. However, that was a commercial alteration. I'm not sure if I can post links to their web site here, so just message me if interested (I have no affiliation with them). But their fee was only $500, versus double that which you guys are talking about. Of course things may have changed in the last year... But suffice to say the City of Atlanta is very political.

Also, I live in Brookhaven, so I'd be happy to offer any insight into the current market there from a resident's perspective.

Good luck!

Originally posted by @Brandon Richardson :

Just a general reply:

I'm new to the forum, so don't beat me up too bad.

I have been in commercial general contracting for 12 years. I used an expediter last year to push a permit through and got it in less than a week. However, that was a commercial alteration. I'm not sure if I can post links to their web site here, so just message me if interested (I have no affiliation with them). But their fee was only $500, versus double that which you guys are talking about. Of course things may have changed in the last year... But suffice to say the City of Atlanta is very political.

Also, I live in Brookhaven, so I'd be happy to offer any insight into the current market there from a resident's perspective.

Good luck!

 Thank you for the information. I'm PM'ing you for the expediter contact information. 

David Begley MBA, Begley Capital Investments, LLC | [email protected] | GA Agent # 357208