About the CRES Building Permit History Reports

The data comes from the only national database of historical building permit data. The database consists of permit data obtained directly from the issuing authorities, so it’s accurate and complete. This same database has been adopted by the nation’s top insurance carriers, Fannie Mae, and more than 400 mortgage lenders. It currently covers over 90 million residential and commercial properties in the United States with over 10 billion data points.

Why Use CRES Building Permit History Reports?
What are the Retention Reduction Guidelines?
Where Does the Data Originate?
Understanding Coverage
What Does “Address In-Coverage, No Permits” Mean?
What Does Permit Status Mean?
What is the “Jurisdiction(s)”?
What is the “Timeline”?
What is Permit Valuation?
Single Address Search Tips for Best Results
Why Can’t I Get Reports on Individual Units in a Complex?

Why Use CRES Building Permit History Reports?

With 1 in 5 claims arising from permit-related issues, why risk not using them? When working with a buyer, use a report to pre-screen homes claiming renovations, new A/C, new roofs etc. Access the reports from your phone while showing a property, or prior to making an offer. If permits are missing, you can negotiate the issue up-front, instead of just prior to (or after) the close.
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What are the Retention Reduction Guidelines?

If you are insured with CRES, and provide the homebuyer with a CRES Permit History Report that includes a coverage timeline PRIOR to closing, your retention (out-of-pocket claims expense) goes down by up to $2,500. We do need proof that the report was given to the homebuyer, or their representative. This could be via a signed disclaimer (included with each report), e-mail/fax documentation, or the report’s inclusion in the transaction file. This benefit is not available for commercial buildings or if the property is not “in coverage” (see Understanding Coverage below).
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Where Does the Data Originate?

The records are primarily sourced from the permit issuing authority. This collected data is standardized into a common report format with information that matters to real estate professionals. The net result is an easy-to-read report that provides the life story of a property.
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Understanding Coverage

We consider the specific address to be “in coverage” if:

  • There is data from the specific municipality where the address is located, or
  • We have data for the city, state, and zip code where the address is located and there is no separate city building department (the address is permitted by either a county or a neighboring city).

We have permit information on the majority of residential and commercial permits issued in the U.S. In some areas, coverage is 90% or higher. In other, more rural areas, permit information is still being gathered, and more data comes online every day. We update over one third of the US every month, some jurisdictions are updated every six months, and other jurisdictions are on a 1-3 year collection schedule.
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What Does “Address In-Coverage, No Permits” Mean?

The address was in our coverage area, but no permits were found for that specific property. Not finding permits can be valuable information. When a permit is not shown in the CRES Permit History database, it can indicate work has been done without a permit. This suggests the work was not inspected by a qualified city/county inspector during the construction process.
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What Does Permit Status Mean?

Permit life cycles are represented in a field called permit status. These are often things like:

  • Applied – when the permit application is under review.
  • Issued – when the permit has been approved and work can begin.
  • Co issued – when the structure can be safely occupied.
  • Final or Completed – when all the work on the structure is done and the permit is ready to be closed.
  • Expired – The permit was issued, but there was no final inspection so the permit is no longer valid.

All of these statuses are shown on the report, so anything in the final stages (or any stage) that’s noted by the building department can be seen on the report in the permit status field.
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What is the “Jurisdiction(s)”?

The jurisdiction (also known as the building department, community development department, and/or permitting authority) listed on the report is the source for the data within the report. In the case where multiple jurisdictions have permits on the specific address, we show the multiple jurisdictions as choices on tabs directly below the address. We provide contact information for jurisdictions (including web sites where available), so they may be contacted directly for further information.
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What is the “Timeline”?

All reports show the building department (“jurisdiction”) permit record “Timeline.” The Timeline varies greatly by jurisdiction since our records are obtained electronically to assure accuracy. The longer the jurisdiction has maintained electronic records, the further back our records will go. This means that any permitted work within that date range on the specific address will be listed in the CRES Building Permit History Report. Although our records may not go back as far as the date the home was built, the most important permit information is the most recent.

We continually collect permit data across the United States.  Over one-third of the permit data is updated monthly, some jurisdictions are updated every six months, and other jurisdictions are on a 1-3 year collection schedule.
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What is Permit Valuation?

Another view into permit data that the CRES Building Permit History Report provides is an analysis by permit valuation. Permit valuation is usually not the amount of money spent by the owner of the structure for the improvement or repair. Rather, permit valuation is usually an estimate of construction cost, and, because it is usually used to estimate permit fees, the permit valuation is often lower than a market value estimate of the construction cost.

In addition, many permits will have a $0.00 valuation.  That can be because the jurisdiction used some method other than valuation to determine fees, and did not log the actual valuation estimate for the permit in question. This is very common with electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits.
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Single Address Search Tips for Best Results

Method 1: Address, City, State
Method 2: Address, City, State, Zip Code
Method 3: Address, Zip Code

Note: For addresses that contain ordinal numbered streets (as in 110 225 Ave, Anytown, MI 11223), enter the address as 110 225th Ave

Why Can’t I Get Reports on Individual Units in a Complex?

We report all permit activity on the structure, rather than the individual units themselves. The permits for the units in the complex are issued under the “hub” address.

Many times there will also be a single address used by the apartment complex which encompasses the permits of all the other units/buildings.

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