I want to buy a house that has a CO but I know they did a lot of renovations to it without permits. I will make a home inspection. Do I need more?

Asked by Peter, New York, NY Mon Jul 15, 2013

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Janardan "Re…, Agent, Fort Lee, NJ
Wed Oct 8, 2014
If they are any open permits, that work has to be reinspected by the town before getting a CO.

0 votes
Andrew Tisel…, Agent, clifton, NJ
Tue Jul 16, 2013
Some renovations do not require a permit. Hopefully your home inspector will find any issues that may concern you.Contact me if you would like a good home inspector
0 votes
Peter, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Mon Jul 15, 2013
Thank you both. I will due my research. Won't buy unless I can obtain all the permits.
0 votes
Barbara Ostr…, Agent, Closter, NJ
Mon Jul 15, 2013
If you are looking in Leonia and working with a good realtor, then your buyers' agent will tell you that in the contract you are automatically guaranteed the right of inspection, which comes within 10 days after attorney review once you settle on a price and terms. During that time, you should certainly do your due diligence to go to the town building department and request a copy of the house permit card, which will indicate any work done on the house with permits. If the inspector notes work which is not up to code and indicates this was probably a "do-it-yourself" job, then you can simply request repairs through your attorney, depending on the price of the house of course. The seller can make the repairs, offer a credit for you to do so after closing, or refuse.

The C.O. required by the town in order to close on any resale of property is done by the seller through the building department and their listing agent prior to closing. Each town is different in what they require for this inspection -- some towns like Teaneck and Bergenfield inspect for the state-required smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a mounted fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Other towns like Fair Lawn go through a more thorough inspection of the furnace, or like New Milford require the homeowner have no buckled sidewalks and railings on all the steps inside and out. This C.O. is required to be presented at closing to accompany the recording of the deed at the county level, and is strictly the responsibility of the seller.

If you aren't yet working with a realtor in your housing search, give me a call! My team and I know the area well, and would be happy to help you with your real estate needs!
Barbara Ostroth
Coldwell Banker Residential RE
201-262-6600 x144
201-965-3105 cell
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Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Mon Jul 15, 2013
You or your agent can verify from the sellers WHAT renovations they did , THEN go to the municipal office and ask for ALL permits to be pulled (if they exist)

Some towns, even here in NJ, only recently (in the last 2-3 years) started checking for open or non-existant permits before issuing a C of O so it MAY not be unusual to get the CO if there were no permits.

Do YOUR due diligence with the township/municipality so there are NO questions about what was done to the house and if permits were needed/issued. An inspector can tell you IF there was an addition/renovation, but in many cases, cannot tell you if the work was done to code and can only recommend you ask for any permits that may have been issued.
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Peter J Roge…, Agent, Mahwah, NJ
Mon Jul 15, 2013
not sure how it can have a CO if no permits were pulled. I would approach this with caution as you could have liability if what you say is true. Of course you will do a home inspection but that has no relevance with regard to unauthorized renovations.
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