|Something many people are unaware of is that
when buying a brand new home, you can close escrow on the house without all the
required municipal inspections having been finalized! While inspecting
"new construction" homes, I often perform what is called a final walk-through.
This is a summary inspection designed to ensure that all components have
been properly constructed and all areas properly finished. I
have noted with regularity, that homes are being closed on and turned over to the new
owner, often times on the very day of my inspection, without what is called a Certificate of
Occupancy having been issued.
Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is a document given by the municipal inspection department,
certifying that the structure is safe and suitable for human habitation. One part of
the issuance of a CO, is to verify that the building inspection record is complete, with
all inspections having been performed and signed off on. A Certificate
of Occupancy is an important protection for you, the buyer.
In this particular locality, a formal Certificate
of Occupancy is only issued if requested (either by you, your lender, or your
builder, etc.). This appears to be the only trigger mechanism in place, that
generates the issuance of a CO. Remember, once you close escrow, what incentive does the
builder have to respond quickly to your requests if you notice any defects that may need
to be repaired? Of course, a top-notch builder who cares
about his reputation will always be responsive to the concerns of his
.but, what about those who aren't top-notch? To protect yourself, always ask for a full Certificate of
Occupancy, before you close escrow.
New Home Warranties for more information on
some of the many warranties associated with the labor performed on your
new home, and on the products & components installed.