May 25, 2005

A Sale of House Disaster Averted

To sell a house, to convey clear and good title, you need to be able to produce a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A clean CO is needed because it shows the world that the town or village says that the structure you are selling is a legal and proper structure with no code violations on file. Failure to obtain and produce a clean CO will be taken to mean that you don't have the legal right to occupy the dwelling on the property that you own. As you might imagine, it is a big deal if something goes wrong with the CO.

Something went wrong with our CO. Our sellers, the people from whom we purchased the house we currently live in, built a brick patio in the backyard. According to our buyers, that brick patio does not appear on the CO or on the survey and thus we do not have a clean CO and we need to get this taken care of. I learned this yesterday.

I pretty much almost went through the fu*king roof when my lawyer told me this, since neither my lender nor my title agency told me this when I bought the house. This can be a real problem to fix because you need to fill out an application, attach a certified architect's plan, a check for a fee, and hope for the best.

Well, as it turns out, problem solved. The head of the Building Department and I had a very nice chat. First we gossiped a bit about mutual acquaintances and then he told me that he remembered inspecting the patio some 13 years ago and that it was built before zoning laws required a permit or CO for these kinds of patios and he would send me a letter to that effect. Believe me, I asked no questions designed to probe the acuity of that memory.

What an exceptional, unlooked for act of sheer kindness.

The letter arrived the next morning (today), by fax, and appears to resolve entirely the issue my buyers raised.

I now have a nice, clean, sparkling, shiny CO to convey.

Thank goodness for small towns and the nice people who actually think that from time to time they're there to help you, not hurt you.

Posted by Random Penseur at May 25, 2005 02:13 PM

Cheers to the conveying of the clean and shiny CO.

Clink!!! Burp...tee hee

Posted by: Wicked H at May 25, 2005 04:29 PM

A clean CO means something entirely different to me. Of course, I'm warped that way. :: snicker ::

Yay! No, really. YAY!

Posted by: Margi at May 25, 2005 07:56 PM

small towns - yup! that's why i moved to one :-)


Posted by: sn at May 26, 2005 07:23 AM

Since I'm in the house-buying stage, it's nice to know these things. And since I live in a small state, I know almost everyone...or knows someone who knows someone.

Congrats, RP! When's the house-warming party?

Posted by: Howard at May 27, 2005 12:19 PM

Yes, when's the house-warming party? Stephen and I would like to attend! I wanna meet the childs!!! :D

Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 27, 2005 11:25 PM

Most building and planning departments are headed by jerkoffs that thrive on a mixture of ego and a desire to muck up the simplest of issues with unnecessary details that clearly exhibit their "superior" knowledge and intellect. On the other hand, dealing with building inspectors is a completely different kettle of fish. While we happen to have a rare and decent sort of planning director, for nuts-and-bolts issues with permits and such I always go directly to the head building inspector first. And, while many people are unnaturally afraid of BI's, they usually are incredibly helpful without being draconian simply because they want to see jobs done right.
Good to hear you got yours cleared up in a hurry.

Posted by: Mark at May 28, 2005 10:16 AM

Even though we live in a town that's become a burb to a huge metro area, you can still find the "small town" folks who do things like that just because it's the right thing to do. One encounter like that makes up for a whole lot of idiots.

Posted by: Ted at May 31, 2005 08:29 PM
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