Home inspectors are often asked by home buyers if the owner had municipal building permits for the work performed on the home.
While I readily acknowledge the validity of the question, home inspectors usually do not have the answer. Often real estate agents jump in with irrelevant information such as they checked and there are no open permits (great answer to a question they were not asked) or the owner says they did (yet another great answer to a question that may or may not be true) or that you will get a Certificate of Occupancy at closing (one of my favorite great answers to a question they were not asked).
It is vital home buyers protect their own interest by filling out and submitting a form and getting answers PRIOR to expiration of your home inspection contingency.
In order to make the form easy to find I posted it at: OPRA Request
After you fill the form out you must mail, e-mail and or fax it to the Municipal Clerk by New Jersey law they are the custodian of public records as indicated at:
It is vital every potential home buyer fill out the form to determine if all the required permits, inspections, approvals and real estate tax updates were obtained for any and all work performed on the home or on the property OR obtain them PRIOR to expiration of your home inspection contingency.
More than once a client has called to thank me after they found out the reason real estate taxes were so low on the home is the real estate tax they were told of were not yet updated to the new value post renovation or post addition.
Production of a Certificate of Occupancy, Dwelling Certificate or Continued Certificate of Occupancy is NOT adequate.
PRIOR to expiration of your home inspection contingency obtain all oral representations from real estate agents and home owners about the condition of the home, the history of problems with the home and all issues raised by the home inspection in the form of certified statements. Nearly two decades of home inspection experience have taught me over and over again – oral representations are worth the paper they are written on.