By Robin Shapiro

I have heard of more deals haunted by old Department of Buildings fines and violations than in recent memory. Some violations occurred because renovations after Hurricane Sandy did not have proper permits, or the permits were not signed off (final approval) by the building department. The architect, general contractor, or the “expediter” didn’t finish the job.  Other properties, old buildings which are common in Rockaway, had not been sold in decades. The certificate of occupancy had not been looked at by anybody recently. Old liens, lawsuits, violations, and fines may have been attached to the property – in many cases issues which had been resolved, but proper notification to the buildings department had not been completed.

How does this affect the sale? It can be difficult to obtain a mortgage. Some banks require a clean certificate of occupancy before issuing the mortgage. Even cash buyers, or even people who CAN obtain a mortgage, are reluctant to proceed because they don’t want to have deal with the buildings department in order to remedy the situation. These people are reluctant to pay an architect, contractor, and/or expediter. Sometimes a sale price reduction or money left in escrow can make the deal work. However, it’s a good idea to “clean up” your “C of O” in advance of trying to sell. Call me. Love, Robin

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