Home Buying in Kensington>Question Details

Bonn, Home Buyer in Philly

Certtificate of Occupancy-What is it?

Asked by Bonn, Philly Thu Apr 9, 2009

If buyer is responsible what is the process and cost to get one?

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Hi Bonn,

I have to assume that you are pursuing some kind of Foreclosure, Short Sale or REO property. In a normal resale, the Seller is responsible for the CO.

The CO is specific to the requirements of your township, etc. Broadly speaking, local town inspectors seem to fall into two camps:
- Real pain, nit-pickers that take pride in really pushing the limits of what is wrong
- Quick run-through guys that look for the obvious but will otherwise miss loads of stuff.

If YOU are responsible for the CO as a buyer I would NOT show the town inspector anything at all from your private inspector. Just stay far out of his way, let him go through and see what he comes back with in his report - smile and thank him very much for coming. If you are lucky, he is the lazy kind and then you'll have a short list.

You do NOT want the town inspector to start going through your home with a fine tooth comb - anything he finds is stuff that you must fix before you can live there ...

Note - there will be a different inspector for general stuff and one for electric (not always but usually).

You will no doubt get a personal inspection in any case, to find out stuff that you really DO need to know about. Make sure the inspector that you hire is VERY experienced, and does it full time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 9, 2009
A certificate of occupancy is typically a certification by the local inspectional services department that the property was inspected and conforms to the local requirements for occupancy at the time of inspection. In the case where a buyer is being required to obtain it, proceed very carefully. You should have a qualified licenced (if they are in your area) home inspector check out the property first to see what doesn't conform & what needs attention in addition to getting estimates from several licenced contractors to get an idea of the work that needs to be done, re-done, or removed PRIOR to accepting this type of contingency to any sale. You'll need to review what work has been done, what permits were applied for, what work doesn't have the needed permits & what will be needed to bring the property up to current requirements/standards.

The certificate of occupancy is usually not that expensive, the local inspectional services can tell you exactly what it will cost. What does get expensive is the labor & materials needed to get the property to conform if there is a problem with what's currently there.

Your mortgage lender will usually require a certificate of occupancy in order to lend on a property or you might have to get a construction loan.

Good luck, hope that helps
Web Reference: http://www.MedfordHouse.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 9, 2009
If you are buying a home in Philadelphia there is an L&I certification - not a U&O. The cost is $100. or $103., if you order online using a credit card. In the vast majority of cases, the L&I department checks it's records. If there are no violations, which usually originate from a complaint filed by a neighbor, they issue a certification of no violations found. It is unlikely that any inspector will go out to the property.

Donna Bond
Weichert Realtors
215-628-8300 ext. 148
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
The certificate of occupancy, under usual and customary practices, is the responsibility of the Seller, unless negotiated otherwise. Most municipalities have a certain set of requirements that must be satisfied before a new owner can physically occupy the property. These requirements vary and can involve items such as smoke detectors to certain minimal deck specifications. In some cases, a temporary Certificate of occupancy can be issued provided that repairs be performed within a set time period. Good Hunting!
Web Reference: http://GMACproperties.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 10, 2009
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