How to find permit information on work done to your property in Florida

How to find permit information on work done to your property in Florida

Learn how to find permit information on work done on properties in Florida.

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Ensuring you have a comprehensive understanding of a property’s permit history is crucial for current homeowners, prospective buyers, and real estate professionals alike. The records of issued building permits offer invaluable information about the modifications, upgrades, and repairs associated with a property, providing insights into the scope, quality, and legality of the work that has taken place. 

These permits encompass everything from minor repair work, such as electrical updates, to extensive home improvements like room additions and roofing jobs. A property’s permit history reveals a description of the work, its cost, and the contractors involved. It also includes both the historical and current building permit records.

How to check permits on a house

Accessing a building’s permit history can generally be done through various avenues. Firstly, local government websites are a good starting point as many municipalities provide online databases for permit records simply by entering the address. Another option is visiting your local building permits department, where you may request building permits. In certain cases, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request may be necessary.

Local property appraiser websites

Local property appraiser websites are valuable resources as they maintain real estate records, including building permits. For example, in the case of Orange County, Florida, permits can be searched online through the Property Appraiser’s Office, which may provide information not found through other avenues.

Not all permits are online

Records vary by location and age. Older permits might only be accessible through direct communication with the building department or by examining archived documents in their physical format. 

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To conduct a comprehensive search, it might be necessary to employ various methods. Search techniques include using the property’s address, parcel number, or owner names, and experimenting with variations may yield different results. For example, including the directional part of an address (e.g., North or South) or abbreviations can make a significant difference in search outcomes. It is beneficial to approach the search with persistence and flexibility.

In sum, understanding the building permit history can prevent unexpected liabilities, help in evaluating the property’s value, and can be a useful negotiating tool in the buying process. The buyer is advised to be thorough in their search and utilize all available means to uncover the home’s permitted—or non-permitted—past.

Where to find building permit data

Commercial building permit data sources


BuildZoom stands out as a specialized repository for commercial building permit data. With a comprehensive database, BuildZoom grants access to permit data from over 4 million licensed contractors in the United States, covering a span of two decades. It boasts a collection of approximately 175 million building permits, which clients can search through by metro area, zip code, or state. Additionally, BuildZoom enables visual mapping of local building activities, enhancing insights into community construction trends.


CoreLogic provides another rich source of building permit data, encompassing over 28 million building permits across different types. Their coverage stretches to 2,500 counties and cities, offering insights into over 9 million households, solidifying their position as a leading provider of such data. CoreLogic’s database allows users to delve into a property’s details, from permit types to specifics of completed work, all crucial for commercial real estate considerations.


ATTOM offers an extensive range of building permit data, embracing both residential and commercial real estate insights. Over 200 million building permits across more than 2,000 building departments nationwide are at the disposal of users. ATTOM’s data not only includes the classification of permit types, like roofing, but also the status of permits, descriptions of the jobs, contractor details, and importantly, the costs associated with the work done. This wealth of information makes ATTOM a go-to resource for assessing the history and current state of commercial properties.

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Residential building permit data sources

Local permit offices

For obtaining residential building permit records, local permit offices are a primary source. A visit to these municipal offices or their corresponding websites typically allows individuals to search for historical and current permits using an address. While thorough, searching through local government offices can be time-consuming.

Online records

With advancements in digital records, many local governments have started to offer online access to building permit data. These systems allow for a more convenient and quick search of historical and current permit applications. Some regions offer comprehensive online databases, while others might have limitations, making it essential to combine online searching with other methods for a complete permit history.

Gathering accurate and updated building permit data is essential for informed decision-making in real estate transactions. By tapping into the resources listed above, stakeholders will obtain a clearer picture of a property’s compliance, improvements, and overall worth.

How to find your building permit

Storing building permits

Maintaining a record of your building permits is essential for future reference, especially when it comes to selling or renovating your property. As permits indicate compliance with local construction codes, it is advisable to store them in a secure and organized manner. Homeowners might consider keeping physical copies in a dedicated filing system or digitally, perhaps in a cloud-based storage solution, ensuring that they are easily retrievable when needed.

Looking up old permits

Searching for Florida building permits

In Florida, each home falls under the jurisdiction of city or county permitting offices. These offices often provide online tools that allow homeowners and potential buyers to access a list of permits that have been issued for a property. This can give insight into any recent work conducted on a property.

The importance of looking up Florida permits

Checking permit history is crucial in Florida, where strict building codes are enforced to ensure structures can withstand local environmental conditions like hurricanes. Unpermitted work might not only be unsafe but could lead to fines, enforced compliance costs, or complications in the event of an insurance claim or property sale.

Choosing the appropriate local permit office

To avoid unnecessary confusion, determine whether a property is within the city or county jurisdiction before commencing a search. For instance, for a home in Orlando, use the Orlando permit search tool, while an unincorporated Orange County property would require a search through Orange County’s system.

Searching for Florida building permits

Using local property appraiser websites

Local property appraiser websites often maintain records and may assist in locating permits not found through the typical channels. The Orange County Property Appraiser’s Office in Florida, for instance, allows for online searches.

As with commercial properties, older records may not be available online and may require contacting the building department directly. Likewise, it may be necessary to use the methods highlighted above, including searching by address, owner’s name, or parcel number. 

Benefits of checking permits on a house

For buyers, reviewing permits is a means of verifying previous owners’ disclosures and confirming that the renovations and installations were performed up to code. This knowledge allows buyers to avoid the unpleasant surprises of unpermitted work, which can lead to serious financial and legal repercussions, including fines, penalties, insurance difficulties, or even the need for costly corrective measures.

Sellers, too, stand to gain from the clear documentation of permitted work. It acts as proof of value addition through approved improvements, potentially bolstering the market appeal and sales price of the property. For existing homeowners, understanding the permit history equips them with the foresight to help plan future remodeling projects without the headache of undoing noncompliant work or discovering latent issues that hamper progress.

Why permit checks matter

Lastly, permits can serve as a tool in property negotiations, enabling both sellers and buyers to align expectations with reality, and help ensure the transaction reflects the true condition and value of the home. In essence, the check for proper permitting is a protective measure and a means of due diligence that helps safeguard all parties engaged in real estate transactions.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.