Just exactly what does it mean when these listings say "code free"?

Asked by W.E.C., Baltimore, MD Sun Dec 27, 2009

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Heather Mori…, Agent, Allentown, PA
Mon Dec 28, 2009
Hello Wec!

Great Reply from my associate in Real Estate below. But, I would like to add something that I hope does help you.

The responsibility of C/O inspection being ordered and also the repairs being handled will depend on the "type" of home you are looking at.

Owner Occupied Seller - The C/O must be ordered by them and the repairs will be up for negotiation between the buyer and seller.

Foreclosure/Bank Owned Home - Known as Bank Owned Home in the LV MLS - 99% of these types of listings will require that you order and make the repairs on the home. In many cases also turn on the utilities on in the home to get this done in your own name.

Estate Property - This is where someone has passed and there are people of the estate taking care of the home. In many cases this is also negotiationable. Many estate properties the utilities are on.

Short Sale - This is also up in the air. In most cases you will be responsible for ordering the CO and also conducting the repairs because the seller has not money to even pay their mortgage and this is why they are selling the home as a short sale.

The good thing about the repairs being the buyers responsibility is that most of the municipalities give you at least 60 days or more after settlement to fix the problem and get the home reinspected at no cost.

I have many more video's and even home buying seminars available at my website...if you are interested in learning anymore...
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Joseph Finne…, Agent, Bethlehem, PA
Mon Dec 28, 2009
The city of Easton requires a certificate of occupancy or a "code" inspection. This inspection is done by the city. They send an inspector to the property who looks for safety issues or violations that need to be fixed. Any violations noted must be corrected by the seller before the home is sold or done by the buyer after the sale. Either way, someone needs to fix the problems.

The violations can include things such as GFI outlets needed near water sources, windows that don't stay open must be fixed, stairways must have handrails...etc.

Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and College Hill require these inspections. Many of the municipalities in the Lehigh Valley don't require the inspection. Hellertown requires a curb and sidewalk inspection but they don't look inside the home. Each municipality is different.

When they say "code free" this usually indicates the code inspection was already done and everything is okay.

A few years ago, when it was a sellers market, the sellers were making the buyers take on the responsibility of getting the code violations corrected. These days the sellers are getting forced to correct the violations and many agreement of sales include a line stating that the seller will be responsible for getting the certificate of occupancy and fixing any noted violations.

Hope this helps.

Happy New Year!

Joe Finnerty
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
Bethlehem, PA 18020
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