General Building Code info for Newbie

I’m in the research mode right now and will be attending my first REI club meeting soon. Really enjoy these discussion groups.

My question has to do with building codes in general – I realize every region (and county) is different, but am curious about what liabilities a new owner inherits with a rehab situation. For instance, if I buy a 1950s house that doesn’t have grounding to its plugs, am I obligated to bring it up to code (install 2 w/ground throughout)? Do I have to hard-wire smoke detectors or install outdoor outlets? In short, how much is grandfathered in, and how much am I obligated for? What’s the best way to acertain prior to taking the plunge?

Any other info I should know about building codes (in general) would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.

This totally depends on specifically where you are investing…and not just the state. city & county codes are often different as well as incorporated cities vs. not. You need to get online and find your specific area. If you still have questions, build a relationship with a general contractor.


BTW - Active investors at your REIA meeting should also know how to answer your questions.

Usually, you don’t have to change anything when you buy, but in some areas, you must bring the whole thing up to code if you do any renovations. (and some areas, you don’t)

You should be able to call and make an appointment to speak to the local planner in your area. Then you can get the information straight from the actual guy who is going to sign off on your paperwrk.