Some home repairs and remodels require a permit and some don't. Laws vary depending on where you're located. The worst thing you can do is perform the work and worry about things like zoning and permits later. Even if you don't get caught, when you go to sell your home, your work could be called into question and delay or nix the sale. Worse, if something bad happens because of your workmanship, the new owners may have grounds to sue you.