Typically a seller is responsible to apply and pay for, and obtain any municipal certifications required to transfer (sell) property. This usually includes a Certificate of Occupancy ( or a C of O) and a fire inspection for smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers. If the municipality finds that repairs are needed to obtain the C of O. or the proper fire equipments is missing/ not in the right places, it's then the sellers responsibility to arrange and payf or them to be performed.
Sometimes a seller is not willing or able to pay for these inspections and this usually occurs in a, "as is" sale which can include short sales, sometimes with estates, and sometimes just because the sellers don't want to do any repairs.
Talk with your agent and/or attorney as to the pit falls of the buyer being responsible for obtaining these certificates.
There is a requirement to get a C.C.O. (Certificate of Continued Occupancy) for every home before the transaction closes. This simply means that an inspector from the town in which the property is located comes in to make sure the smoke and carbon detectors are properly placed and operable, and that a fire extinguisher is mounted within 6 feet of the cooking appliance. In some towns they require an inspection of the fireplace as well. Each town has its own criteria and fee for the C.C.O.
The seller, in most cases, has the responsibility of getting the C.C.O. and paying the town a fee for this inspection.
However, when a home is a "short sale," the responsibility of getting the C.C.O. and paying the fee falls on the Buyer. Usually in short sale transactions, the Buyer is also expected to close outstanding permits if there are any.
If you need any additional information, Monika, please feel free to call me at 201-233-5278. I'll be pleased to help with your real estate questions and needs.
Vikki Healey Properties
What this usually means is that there are some inspections, like the Certificate of Occupancy, for example, that have not been done by the seller. Usually that is beacuase of the condition of the house and the buyer needs to be responsible for those papers. These are usually necessary for a closing, so the buyer may need to pay the fees, that vary from town to town.
It's often a way of passing off responsibility to you, so be careful. The seller should be responsible for everything having been properly permitted, so make sure your contract has language by your attorney to that effect. And look for improvements that are fairly recent and MAKE SURE there were building permits and inspections for anything the owner has done. Especially finished basements, decks, new kitchens, baths, etc.
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Most towns in bergen cty require a certificate of occupancy. Contact the town to see what is required in that town. I think their phone number is: 201-288-0195.
It's usually pretty easy.