The Certificate Of Occupancy

by Cheryl from Atlanta, Georgia

Ask Kate how you can locate the Certificate of Occupancy: Hi Kate, I am scheduled to close on my house on Friday and need to locate the certificate of occupancy. I have been unable to find it and need to know how I go about getting it ASAP. Thank you.


Kate Answers: Where to find the Certificate of Occupancy

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Dear Cheryl,

I don't know another document so elusive as the certificate of occupancy.

And the problem is, most likely, you can't close your real estate transaction without it.

Buying a House and the Certificate Of Occupancy

Now assuming the certificate of occupancy is for new construction, your builder should have a copy.

If you use an escrow or attorney in Georgia to close real estate transactions, you may find the certificate of occupancy at their office.

Refinancing Your Mortgage and the Certificate Of Occupancy

Of course if you are refinancing after a major remodel and the cert was issued some time ago, locating it is going to be a little involved. You may have misplaced the original copy. (More help on refinancing near the bottom of this page.)

However, don't give up! The certificate of occupancy is normally filed and recorded as public record. You may find it by going down to the public court house.

Call first to ask if there is a certain day of the week that the court house takes these requests and if it is mandatory that you show up in person. Take proper identification and the date the certificate of occupancy was signed off by the inspector. Or maybe you can access county records online.

Find out the average cost. Generally there is a charge per page so hopefully your COO was not too long!

Or enlist your mortgage professional's help who has local contacts at the title insurance company.

Mortgage Transactions Without the Certificate of Occupancy

Homeowners have asked me about the certificate of occupancy several times. Believe it or not one transaction had to do with a barn! Read about my appraiser with muddy feet at The Certificate Of Occupancy - Surprise!

Sue's home buyers want to buy a property with temporary housing that was converted from a garage. Can they can use an FHA loan for financing without a certificate of occupancy? See my answer at Do FHA Loan Guidelines Require Certificate of Occupancy?

Good luck in your search,


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Refinancing Without Certificate of Occupancy
by: Anonymous

I am refinancing with the same bank a third time. Since the last mortgage, I have renovated my home. Now they are asking for a certificate of occupancy.

Can they hold money in escrow until I get one? If so, do I get the money back once I've given them the certificate?

Hi Kate here. In general, lenders will require a certificate of occupancy (COE) from the local government for new construction or a renovation project requiring permits.

But lenders HAVE been known to make exceptions. So why not ask for one? Beforehand, compose a letter to describe your remodel, explaining why the final permit (COE) has not yet been issued.

Once the COE is submitted to the bank, assuming they approved an escrow hold-back in order to close your mortgage transaction, releasing the money should be the final step. But you must get the terms of the escrow hold-back from the lender IN WRITING! Verbal promises are not sufficient.

Good luck and best wishes closing your new mortgage, Kate

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You can also ask Kate about your mortgage at Refinancing Advice The Nuts and Bolts.

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