The Importance of A Certificate of Occupancy

Do you know what a CO is? Do you understand the importance of having one? These things are essential to know whether you’re a buyer or a seller. Read on to learn about COs and why they’re necessary for buying or selling real estate.

What Is a Certificate of Occupancy?

A CO is a document issued by a local government agency that certifies that a property is suitable for occupancy. In other words, it confirms that a building is safe and legal to live or work in. Depending on the municipality, a certificate of occupancy may be required for any building, from a single-family home to a large commercial office. Some municipalities do not require a certificate of occupancy.

Why a Certificate of Occupancy is Important for Buyers and Sellers

For buyers, a CO is an important factor to consider when purchasing a property. Where required, the absence of a CO may indicate that the property is not in compliance with local laws and regulations. This could be a sign that the property may need costly repairs or renovations to bring it up to code. It can also mean that the property could be subject to fines and penalties. For sellers, having a CO will give buyers more peace of mind when considering your property over those that don’t have one.

How To Get A Certificate of Occupancy

A CO can be obtained by making an application to the local municipality. Once an application is submitted, the municipality will inspect the property. This is typically done at the seller’s expense. A real estate attorney or agent can help you with this process.

From a legal perspective, when a certificate of occupancy is required by a municipality, the CO certificate is essential. In fact, failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy when required could lead to violations, fines, and/or penalties. Not sure how to go about obtaining one? Let us help! Give Riley & Gutman a call today.