If it were me, I'd check with the town. Any monkey business that shows up with work done without permits would be a signal that it's time to walk. The seller is too slippery to trust, is already trying to con you into getting involved and you can't see everything that he has done or will do before closing.
On the other hand, except for the fact that some towns want a contract in place before they will inspect, you can contract for the CO to be complete whenever you want it completed. In some towns, they will do an inspection that is good for six months and will do it without a contract in place. Even if they ask for a contract in place, sometimes they don't ask to see it, they just ask for the name of the buyer. I'm sure that some deals fall through (I've only had one) at the last hour at the closing table, so the town would ultimately be thwarted in that case anyway. The CO was surely done before the deal died.
Be careful with this one.
In your situation, I suggest you have your attorney at least try to get the CO within fifteen days of attorney review. That way if they have an issue getting it, you can just cancel based on them not having the CO. Your going to have to also have the seller agree to push back the inspection and mortgage contingency dates back so that start to run after the CO is furnished. With that said, its not common to get the CO so early on. But in this market, if I were your attorney i would at least offer to ask.
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It is not the practice of giving the CO to the buyer before you have a deal and or do inspections. It is due by closing date. You say there improvments that that have been done and you can not get a CO for (?) 1) how do you know this 2) it will be the sellers reponsibility to either pey the fine or have the issue resolved.
Your expectation of a CO before you are out of attorney review is not how it goes... just like buying new construction.. would you expect there to be a CO before the property is finished?
This is the homeowners responsibility. What you are stating works nboth ways..why should the seller jump through hoops if you can't buy the house?
So why do you need it now? What does your agent advise?
You can go to the township and ask what if any permits have been filed on that home. This information is public record. Nothing prevents you from doing this now. In fact I would advise it if I was your agent. You should try to gather as much information as possible prior to going under contract. In addition review the sellers disclosure. The sellers are obligated to disclose what improvements were made and if these improvements was done with the proper townships inspections, and permits. If a seller fails to disclose this can be considered a breach of contract.
Jeremy S. Hill, Realtor Associate
Keller WIlliams Realty
1814 Route 70 East
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
"Your Interest 1st Always"
But towns are complaint based and listen to annonimous complaints
But i am curoius how you know that the owner made improvements without obtaining permits and that the improvements done need permits in the first place. You realise that if these are significant changes the town is within its rights to have the owner restore the house to its original condition and are you sure you want to buy a house which has been ripped apart?
Clifton is pretty strick when it comes to this osrt of think - ask me how I know!