We offer the following services for residential homes throughout the city of San Jose:
As you might know, real estate in San Jose is getting bought up at a faster rate than the listing of new properties. If you’re preparing to sell your home or just bought one and want to do some renovations, we’ll share what we hope will be useful information to you.
The best place to start is to find out what your property is zoned as. This allows you to be better informed on the types of renovations you can do in your property. San Jose’s zoning ordinances were designed to maintain property values, prevent overcrowding, and protect the environment from getting ‘over developed’. So even though it might seem like a hassle, adhering to ordinances is in the best interest of your property’s long term value.
Our team works in crews of 5 including a designer, project manager, and our tradespeople. Although our name might imply we cover every home remodeling project imaginable, sometimes we recommend you go to specialists who can give you a better price than we can for the same quality of work.
The city of San Jose has partnered with various nonprofit and for-profit organizations to help residents either improve their living conditions or purchase a home.
CalHFA provides FHA backed financing to qualified borrowers. This program will let you either defer the payment of closing costs, lump them into the 30 year low interest rate loan, or help lower the closing costs. They have a variety of loan products and programs designed to help people own or improve their home so contact them and talk to their loan officer about your needs.
The Housing Trust of Silicon Valley helps people come up with up to 20% for a down payment of a home with up to $1.1M sale price. Visit their website to learn more about their down payment assistance program.
Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley provides grants for home renovations to qualified borrowers. The grants are typically for home repair and maintenance projects to maintain the property value and provide improved living standards.
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley similarly provides grants for home renovations intended for accessibility repairs and upgrades.
The city has partnered with various nonprofit organizations to encourage energy efficiency and clean energy usage. These programs are offering rebates of up to $6,500 or 75% of the installation cost of an EV charging station or various household appliances like electrical induction stoves. Other incentives include rebates for solar water heaters.
Note that solar panels can also be installed in other parts of your property and not only your property’s roof. So if you have extra unutilized land, installing a solar system might be a great choice for you.
To see the full list of renovation rebates and incentives offered by the city and their partner nonprofits, visit this website.
In response to COVID 19, the city has moved most of their operations online including the permitting, planning & zoning offices. So any questions you have about your designs should be directed to their online platform or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org
As of now, the city accepts over the counter permits for the following projects:
See the full list on San Jose’s over the counter permit webpage.
It’s always good to check with your general contractor if your project falls in a grey area but as a general guideline, the following projects need building permits:
Projects that don’t need building permits from the city of San Jose
To see the full list of projects that do and don't need permits, visit this page published by the city of San Jose.
A good place to start is to check the permit & documented improvement history of your property on the San Jose permits website.
If you’re recently acquired a property that you suspect has unpermitted work done by the previous owner, you as the new owner are now responsible to bring it up to code. Change of ownership doesn’t absolve the new owner of responsibility. If at any point in the future you choose to get permitted work done and an inspector comes by your property and finds the unpermitted work, the city of San Jose has the authority to issue a $1,000 citation. Also, liability or homeowners insurances don’t cover unpermitted portions of your property.
Sorry to be all doom and gloom but the good news is that unpermitted work done can be brought up to code and get permitted. In the case that the unpermitted work was done according to code but simply wasn’t inspected, your general contractor would simply have to apply for the relevant permit and schedule an inspection. In the case that alterations have to be made, your general contractor would have to apply for permits, bring the structure up to code, and then schedule the inspections.
Yes, skylights need at least one or potentially more than one permit. In the simplest situation, all you would need is a building permit if no plumbing, mechanical, or electrical elements are being moved or altered. If your general contractor has to relocate or alter the framing, plumbing, or electrical conduits, they would have to get the appropriate permits. To learn more about skylight permitting process, visit this website.
To address the shortage of affordable living spaces and shortage of space in general, the city of San Jose published a set of preapproved ADU plans. These ADU plans have already been through the design review process and are available to you for free. This is a big deal. Getting plans for ADU’s drawn up can take months and cost tens of thousands.
These plans streamline the process of building an ADU on your property but there are still some considerations like the zoning of your property, setback rules, and the capacity of your property’s sewage and utilities.
Though it is unlikely that your property won’t be able to handle the extra load of another household, if it does happen the solution would be to upgrade your sewage and utilities. This would require the involvement of your general contractor, PG&E, and possibly San Jose’s sanitary department. Your general contractor should navigate this process for you. We mention this just so you’re aware of the potential unforeseen costs of building an ADU.
There are always unforeseen expenses that can come up when remodeling but a good general contractor like our team at Home Quality Remodeling should give you a simple fixed price contract for the work to be done. Don’t get caught in an ‘open arrangement’ where you’re paying your contractor as they do the work. That’s a very slippery slope into an expensive pit. Also, it’s likely that if they offer to work with you without a contract, they’re unlicensed or there’s something fishy going on. Unlicensed contractors can’t get permits for construction projects and you, as the homeowner, can get fined for hiring an unlicensed contractor.