Definition of Certificate of Occupancy in Real Estate
If you are in the process of purchasing a home, make sure to ask for the certificate of occupancy so that you can be sure that the property is up to code and safe to live in.
A certificate of occupancy is typically only needed for newly constructed homes or when the ownership of a home changes hands. However, it is always best to check with your local building department to see if you need one.
What is a certificate of occupancy?
A certificate of occupancy is a document that is issued by a local building department or zoning department. This document states that the residential property or home is appropriate for occupancy. In order to be considered suitable, the property must comply with the building code that applies to that particular area. This means that the property adheres to all safety standards.
The certificate of occupancy also identifies what class the building or residential property falls into and its use. For this reason, you usually need a certificate of occupancy when you purchase a home.
The benefits of having a certificate of occupancy
There are many benefits to having a certificate of occupancy. Perhaps the most important benefit is that it ensures your home is safe to live in. By making sure that your home meets all the safety requirements, you can rest assured knowing that you and your family are safe.
Another benefit of having a certificate of occupancy is that it can help you get insurance for your home. Some insurance companies will not provide coverage if you do not have a certificate of occupancy.
Lastly, having a certificate of occupancy can help you if you ever decide to sell your home. Selling a home without a certificate of occupancy can be difficult and may result in a lower sale price.
Why do you need a certificate of occupancy?
As mentioned before, you usually need a certificate of occupancy when you purchase a home. This is because lenders will often require one before they approve a loan. In some cases, you may be able to get a loan without a certificate of occupancy, but it will likely have a higher interest rate.
Another reason you may need a certificate of occupancy is if you plan on making any changes to your home. For example, if you want to add an addition or convert your garage into a living space, you will likely need to get a certificate of occupancy first.
How to get a certificate of occupancy?
If you need a certificate of occupancy, the first step is to contact your local building department. You can usually find the contact information for your local building department on your city or town’s website. Once you’ve made contact, they will likely give you instructions on what needs to be done in order to get a certificate of occupancy.
In most cases, you will need to submit an application and pay a fee. You may also need to have your home inspected to ensure it meets all the necessary requirements. Once everything has been approved, you should receive your certificate of occupancy.
What to do if you don’t have a certificate of occupancy
If you live in a home that was built before the 1970s, it’s possible that it doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy. In some cases, you may be able to get what’s called a “grandfather” certificate, which would allow you to keep living in your home without getting one. However, this is usually only possible if your home has been well-maintained and there have been no major changes made to it.
If you’re not able to get a “grandfather” certificate, you will need to get a regular certificate of occupancy. As mentioned before, this usually involves submitting an application and having your home inspected. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to get your certificate of occupancy.
The consequences of not having a certificate of occupancy
If you live in a home without a certificate of occupancy, there are a few potential consequences. Perhaps the most serious is that your home insurance may not cover you in the event of an accident or disaster. This means that if something happens to your home, you could be on the hook for all the repairs.
Another consequence of not having a certificate of occupancy is that you may have trouble selling your home. In some cases, buyers may be hesitant to purchase a home without a certificate of occupancy. And even if you are able to find a buyer, you may have to sell your home at a lower price.
Lastly, if you live in a home without a certificate of occupancy and something goes wrong, you could be held liable. This means that if someone is injured on your property, you could be sued.
How to avoid problems with your certificate of occupancy?
There are a few things you can do to avoid problems with your certificate of occupancy. First, make sure you understand what the requirements are for your area. This way, you can be sure that your home meets all the necessary standards.
Another thing you can do is to keep all your paperwork in order. This means having your certificate of occupancy on hand, as well as any other supporting documents. This will make it easier to prove that your home is up to code if there’s ever any question.
Finally, it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date on the requirements for your certificate of occupancy. This way, if anything changes, you can be sure that your home still meets all the necessary standards.
By following these tips, you can avoid problems with your certificate of occupancy and ensure that your home is up to code.