A certificate of occupancy states that a property is in proper condition for its intended use. This certificate may be required for either commercial or residential properties. Each separate municipality in Georgia (and the rest of the U.S.) sets their own rules in regards to when a certificate of occupancy is required. Before moving into a new home, you’ll want to find out if you need this form. You’ll also want to make arrangements to have any required inspections completed.
Who Needs an Occupancy Certificate?
Some municipalities require an inspection to be completed prior to settlement or move-in. This process is separate from a buyer’s home inspection, which is often a contingency stated in the agreement of sale. The home inspector will look at a property on the buyer’s behalf and point out items in need of repair. For a certificate of occupancy to be issued, each individual township has to perform a separate inspection. In the Atlanta area, a certificate of occupancy is required prior to moving in to a newly constructed home. Properties that have changed in purpose (such as a conversion from commercial to residential usage) also require this certificate prior to occupancy. If this is required to complete your home purchase, you will need the completed form prior to settlement.
What Do Inspectors Look For?
Before issuing a certificate of occupancy, inspectors check the overall construction of the home. They ensure that the property meets local building code requirements. They will also look for structural issues, as well as check the heating, plumbing and electrical systems. Often a checklist can be provided prior to the inspector’s arrival which will help you or your builder prepare for the inspection.
When in the Home Buying Process Do You Get the Occupancy Certificate?
If you do need this additional inspection prior to move-in, check with your local government offices for wait times. You will need to schedule an appointment with an inspector once your home has been completed, but before settlement takes place. Some municipalities may issue a temporary certificate of occupancy for closing if the house can be safely occupied, but additional work is expected to take place after settlement. The inspector may then return to the property to issue the final report at a later date.
In addition to satisfying local ordinances, lenders may not complete your mortgage until a required certificate of occupancy is obtained. If you have questions about this important part of the closing process, don’t hesitate to ask your real estate agent or a BrightPath Mortgage specialist. In addition, you can call your local government office for assistance.