The title company who is supplying you with your title insurance and ordering all your documents (yes, the city HAS to issue you a Certificate of Occupancy in order for you to go to settlement) should be able to answer all of your questions. Are you working with your agents affiliated title company? Or have you chosen to find one on your own?
Please email me if you have any other questions, see my website below. Sorry for your confusion, this really should be a painless process.
If you have placed a bid on a property with work completed, You should ask to see the permit for the work completed from the seller. The permit will let you know that the work was completed in accordance with all local and federal codes. Use and Occupancy permits are given when the sale is completed and the property is in compliance with the local codes. If the building inspector who inspects for the use and occupancy see that work has been done that requires a permit, they will investigate their records to see if a permit was applied for, if a permit was not issued they will require the owner to comply.
If the current owner cannot supply permits, or did not make the improvements, talk to the township to get a copy of permits.
If permits were not applied for, you may want to use this in your negotiations. Talk to your agent or give me call