C/O inspection--What a JOKE!

azzaleaApril 18, 2012

We paid $150 for our C/O inspections.

Well, yesterday, a woman called from the town and said she'd inspected the exterior--and that there was one sidewalk block at the rear/side of the property that would need to be replaced. What? I was totally confused, we don't have any concrete at the back of our property. As I drilled her with questions, trying to find out what I was missing, what she was talking about, I finally got to the bottom of it--she was at the wrong house, on the wrong street! She was supposed to come back today--I didn't see or hear from her, so ????

We had the inside inspection scheduled for today--the fellow was literally in my house NO MORE than 2 minutes. He just walked around and poked the 4 smoked detectors with a stick, then glanced at the fire extinguisher, and shoved the signed form at me.

And for all that, we paid $150???? Seems a little overpriced to me!

How have some of your towns handled the CO inspection?

This guy didn't look at the electric box, nor tell us to put spindles on our railing to the basement (there are none and I was really expecting that to be a problem), nor look at the plumbing or anything. Wouldn't those things be important to determining if the house was safe for habitation? We've never sold a home before so maybe this experience is the norm, I don't know.

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That has not been my experience at all. I just paid $375 for an inspection and it was very complete. Electrical, appliances, siding, walkways, hvac, hot water heater, foundation were all inspected. I got a 30 page report + additional homeowner maintenance procedures in a binder. The inspector was licensed and very professional. He found one significant issue that I followed up with a specialized contractor for further inspection.

The was more than twice as much as your inspection, but I feel that I got my money's worth. Since a house is huge investment I want to know exactly what I am buying.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:35PM
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melody-s, azzalea is talking about a township inspection the seller of a house is required to have for a certificate of occupancy before a sale closes. The inspection you're talking about is a whole different animal.

azzalea - in my town in NJ the only considerations seem to be the smoke and CD detectors and large enough numbers on the front of the house. The other issue which seems to arise here is that the inspectors make you raise the water heater off the floor with cinder blocks in certain situations.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:17AM
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Remember that this inspector has probably been out to the home several times already performing inspections at every major stage. The final CO inspection mainly checks out the appliances, lighting, grading, and other finishing touches.
Having said this, though, the county inspections here in my county were a joke.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 6:46AM
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Yes, melody--as Helene explained, this was the township inspection to qualify for a Certificate of Occupancy. Basically to determine if the house is up to code and fit to live in.

Our buyers had the kind of inspection you're speaking about--it was moderately thorough, and we got a copy of the report--which we felt missed a couple of things, but we were honest on our disclosure and were willing to answer any question honestly. Not sure what they paid for it, though. The electrical, plumbing, construction, appliances, termite inspection, radon testing, etc were all covered in that one and they did ask us to do a couple of really small things.

Helene--I know how long he was in the cellar--this one didn't even have time to walk to where he could see water heater--LOL!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:25AM
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NC--no--this inspector has NEVER been to our home before.

This is not new construction, but a 90 year old home. We've lived here for 39 years. Last time we did any permitted work inside was about 30 years ago. NO ONE from the township has been in this house in decades, for any reason. And no--he didn't check out appliances, or anything else on your list. Frankly, I think he should have--but as the seller, hoping to get through this process as easily as possible, I'm not complaining to the town, of course!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:32AM
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"Remember that this inspector has probably been out to the home several times already performing inspections at every major stage. "

The Co game is strictly a way to raise money for the towns, through the fee and if they can find any reason to increase the tax appraisal.

There are numerous jurisdictions that do not revoke a CO on sale and then re-issue it.
Once the CO is issued it remains in affect until there is an incidents that causes the house to be condemned.

Some places are notorious for using CO inspections as soon as a house is listed for sale as an excuse to enter and inspect.

Just follow the money.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:52AM
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I'm still stuck on "C/O inspection required before selling a house." That's a tidy little moneymaker for the city, no?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Jakabedy--exactly the point of my original post--LOL!!!

Update--the gal doing the exterior inspection did come back (I guess, I never saw her) and passed the house--so I've got the 2 certificates, and no repairs to make. YEAH!! Think that was the last hurdle before settlement and it should be smooth sailing from here on.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Your situation was much easier than ours. We built a custom house for a client and it took 3 visits from the town for a C/O. They came with the plans and reviewed from top to bottom. They wanted to see every tempered sticker on every piece of glass. We had specified no markings on the Starfire (clear) glass and had billing proof it was tempered, but they rejected it. All showers, interior glass rails, roof balcony rails, and 200 ft of yard glass rails had to be acid etched by the glass manufacturer. The house had to be exactly identical to the Architectural review board plan. All plantings shown had to be in place. The house had a pool so all fences, gates (self closing and lockable, and pool cover were inspected. Pool cover had to be certified otherwise door alarms and pool alarm were needed. All fireplaces had to have doors and outside fresh air intakes. All paperwork on one pre-fab fireplace had to be furnished and a gas linear fireplace had to have all it's paperwork. They checked for the electrical underwriters certificate. Any plumbing in the basement had to be finished with stops and caps so a plumber would not have to come back for fixture installation. This inspection took hours. They came back to check glass stamps, one cap on a future vent, and final driveway coating. He gave us a break on the stone on top of 4" of blacktop driveway until the owner moved in. In our area they are very careful and only give in a little. Also they check exterior drainage because we have to have zero runoff so all downspouts and patios must drain into engineered drainage. Don't complain about not getting your money's worth because the opposite could happen and time and money would be the end result. This is set up to safeguard the owner and the town. Years ago they didn't look at the finished project closely and they got caught buy buyers and even neighbors. This makes for an interesting close to a project.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:44AM
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lannie -

That does seem to be a quite intense inspection! But You're talking about a newly-built house that was yet to be occupied. Azzalea is talking about an existing home that is simply being placed on the market. No new work, no remodeling -- just putting a "for sale" sign in the yard. What I'm amazed about is that there is a city that requires a C/O inspection on, apparently, every house listed for sale in the city. That just doesn't happen in my area. Or anywhere in my state, AFAIK.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:22PM
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This is NJ, after all. There is even an exit tax on the sale of a house if you are leaving the state! (as far as I understand the the ruling)


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Yes, NJ isn't known as the land of taxes for nothing! It's routine in all towns around here that you need a new C/O when selling your home. My sister has a rental unit in her home--guess what? She has to get a new inspection/certificate between renters every time.

And yes, while there's some dispute about the official name of the "exit" tax (of course, the politicians always claim it's not an 'exit tax'), if you sell your home and buy another within 6 months out of state, you're charged a tax. So people who want to relocate out of state are having to sell their homes, rent in NJ for 6 months, and THEN move on with their plans if they want to avoid paying it.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:32PM
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"The Co game is strictly a way to raise money for the towns, through the fee and if they can find any reason to increase the tax appraisal."

Party and travel money for the politicians.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 2:36PM
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WOW! I did not know some areas required a CO inspection for a resale. And then taxing you if you buy something else in another state. i think they would have to sue me to get that one.
On my new home here, the CO inspector would not issue because the mailbox was too far off the road. But he did not care one bit about the builder not using any kind of footer drain!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:06AM
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"i think they would have to sue me to get that one. "

Or simply issue an arrest warrant for you if you are even stopped by police in that state.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 12:04PM
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It appears they are not enforcing it, and the settlement attorneys don't collect it.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 8:29AM
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Some states enforce 'exit taxes' on \the state income tax.

Sales are reportable as income with a matching deduction if the money is used to purchase another home in the state.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:36AM
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When I sold, the C/O inspector was fascinated by my cat's water bowl. He spent 5 minutes looking at it. He then spent about 2 minutes on the rest of the house.

I'm pretty sure he should have been a psychatric inpatient, but he did give a clean report.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 11:53AM
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