Frequently asked questions
How long will it take for my permits to be approved?
The time from submission of all documents to being ready to build depends on how complicated the project is, where the project is, and some amount of luck. As of Aug. 2021, Whatcom County takes about 6 weeks, Island County about 8 weeks, Anacortes about 6 weeks and Skagit County about 4 months. That for a home connected to existing water, a normal septic system, and critical area studies, boundary surveys, wetland studies and the like already done.
How much are Northwest Permit Services fees to project manage my building permits?
Generally we charge a flat fee for the entire project. That pays for our work from the start until the permits are issues. The fee varies from $3,500 to $5,000 for single family homes. We collect a deposit at the beginning, and the balance when everything is submitted. Our work continues until you have the permits in hand.
How much will the permits cost?
That varies all over the place, depending on what the project is. If you are building a single family house, costing $400,000 in Skagit County, expect to spend $4,000-5,000. Each location does it a bit differently, each jurisdiction posts a fee schedule on line.
Why should I hire Northwest Permit Services?
If you have the time and are comfortable dealing with a large number of issues needing resolution, are happy dealing with contractors of all types, and have the patience necessary to work with the details your city or county planning departments requires, then roll up your sleeves and dive in. If you have other things in your life that you would rather do, then call us. We actually like working with all the different folks, including those at the planning departments. And they are used to working with us. One of the builders we work with told me the other day he expects a delay of 2 months when a homeowner takes on permits himself. You can do the math and figure out the cost of that delay to yourself.
What are the biggest problems to overcome in building here?
Getting water to your new home, and getting rid of sewage. Simple. There are places in Skagit County where drilling a new well is simply not legal, but where there is so much surface water that installing a septic is impossible. Some HOAs on Whidbey Island have a 6 year waiting list for new water connections, and the soil conditions require a 1/4 acre of land to install a septic system.