"Remodel" can refer to a lot of projects, including some that bring up serious safety issues—which would require you to get a permit. "If you're just painting, staining, sanding floors, installing crown molding, or replacing cabinets, you don't need a permit," says Tom. "But if you're adding outlets or changing a stove from electric to gas, you might. If you're replacing windows, taking down a bearing wall, or moving a doorway, you probably need one." A call to your building department will help you find out which types of projects require permission in your town.