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“Tagged” homes in the City of Warren (Macomb County MI) – what you need to know to purchase the home.

March 5th, 2009 · 64 Comments · first time home buyers, macomb county MI, tips for purchasing a foreclosure, warren MI

If you’ve viewed homes for sale in the city of Warren lately you’ve probably come across some that have this notice taped to the window or the door:

City of Warren certificate of occupancy for vacant homes
When I’m out and about showing homes to buyers I’m seeing more of them on vacant homes.   (Most of the vacant homes have been foreclosures or bank owned homes.)

If you wish to buy a home that has been tagged by the city building inspector as needing a certificate of occupancy there are a couple of things you should know before you make an offer to purchase:

You will need to contact the city inspector and make arrangements for the home to be inspected.   Items that the inspector deems need to be fixed, repaired and/or replaced will have to be done before you can legally occupy the home.

Also, an appraiser hired by your mortgage lender will certainly take a photo of the notice on the door or window and include that in their report.  They may also include verbiage such as “Needs to be inspected by the City of Warren prior to occupancy”.

Important: Talk to your mortgage lender before writing an offer on a home that needs a certificate of occupancy.   Your mortgage lender (and the underwriter) may require you to have the items fixed that the building inspector cites that are necessary for the occupancy certificate before you can close on your home loan.  If that’s the case, then you’ll want to seriously think about whether you want to spend money on a home that isn’t yours yet.

Most banks and asset managers of the foreclosures that I come across will not make repairs to a home for you to purchase it.  It truly is an ” As-Is” purchase.

For the investor that is familiar with these types of things purchasing a foreclosure that has been tagged can be a good investment.  For the average first time home buyer there are pitfalls that you need to be aware of so that you can make an educated decision about whether to proceed with the purchase or to move on to another home that hasn’t been cited for inspection.

~Kris Wales~  A partner for your real estate needs in Macomb County MI

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64 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fady // Mar 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I have an inspection coming up April 7th 2014…

    Can you guys please list stuff that the inspectors cited you guys for. this will help future home owners facing inspectors.

    less citations for us = win

    Thank you ALL

  • 2 DH // Apr 23, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Hi Fady,

    How did it go? I have mine this Friday. Any suggestions before that?

  • 3 Kellie // Jul 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Hi,
    We are going to buy a house on short sale. The house has not been tagged, it is in Warren. We are getting a private inspection. Do we still need a city inspection?

  • 4 Kris Wales // Jul 9, 2014 at 5:06 am

    If the home is vacant, and has been deemed abandoned by the city, then in all likelihood you would need
    a city inspection also. Call the city offices and ask for the building department or the community development department, give them the address, and ask them to be sure.

  • 5 Dave L // Jul 21, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Warren is not the only city doing city cert inspections. Most larger and older suburbs now do these inspections. The city cert inspections are based on the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) . Most of these homes were built prior to all of the electrical devices now available, consequently the electrical systems are not adequate for these new power demands! The IPMC ensures the safety of the occupants of these older structures. Many times the electrical systems have been upgraded and if done with proper permits and respected they will be fine, however a lot of the electrical work was done by unlicensed and untrained workers! Any electrical work done in the State of Michigan is required to be permitted and done by licensed workers. So it’s not common for an inspector to ask for permits on work already done in a home. All permit records are available at the building department’s. Also city inspectors are licensed by the state and are required to take many hours of continuing education to maintain their licenses. All in one inspection services are not licensed, anyone can hang up a sign and do inspections with no State oversight! !!! Inclosing your homeowners insurance may not cover a claim if work was done without permits…

  • 6 Kris Wales // Jul 22, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Dave, you bring up a very good point. Most, if not all, of the suburban Detroit cities are now requiring inspections prior to occupancy on what they deem “abandoned” homes. (Foreclosure sales, etc.) When I originally wrote this article in 2009 Warren was one of the first that began requiring them, and the others followed suit shortly afterwards.

    I agree that a general home inspection performed for the buyer during their contingency period in the purchase process does NOT normally include an electrical inspection by someone licensed. However a good home inspector will “flag” areas of concern to the buyer, and recommend that a licensed electrician be brought in to evaluate the situation. (Or plumber, or heating & cooling, etc.)

    Thank you for your input. It may help many people.

    Kris Wales

  • 7 Jason // Jan 28, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    A reader on my blog sent me this link and asked if down payment programs apply to tagged properties? Would you happen to know the answer?

  • 8 Kris Wales // Jan 29, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Hello Jason,

    Whether a buyer using one of the down payment assistance programs could purchase a home that is “tagged” to be inspected by the city/township for occupancy purposes would be program specific. Since you don’t tell me which program you are talking about, I really can’t answer the question.

    For example: MSHDA wants the Certificate of Occupancy to be issued prior to closing. I have had one buyer use MSHDA with a vacant home purchase, and the seller agreed to have the inspection, make the repairs and provide the C of O prior to closing. Then MSHDA would sign off on the loan.

    What down payment assistance program are you speaking of?

  • 9 wow // Mar 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I had this problem in warren when I bought my house saying that I had to get inspection but it was some kind of suspension or section law or something and I read the law and it said long as I purchase my home not rent or morgage what not and I’m not renting that I didn’t have to have the inspections or anything they can’t make you fix the floor have your house in a certain manner way shape or form if you own your house right out so I did find that loophole thank god because they are relentless

  • 10 Mark // Mar 31, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I just purchased a home in Warren that was a Fannie Mae Home Path home last week. I went to the city assessor this morning to file my homestead exemption. They told me that I need to get an inspection done before I can move in. After reading the comments above, I am expecting the worse. I had the home inspected by a 3rd party inspector and an appraisal done and there weren’t any comments saying that repairs needed to be done prior to moving in. I also got a CofO when I closed on the house. So I am a little confused as to why I need an inspection done before I can move in when I already have my CofO. My realtor didnt bring this to my attention until the day of closing and she made it sound like it was no big deal but after reading these comments it seems like it may be. I am a first time home buyer so any advice is appreciated.

  • 11 Mark // Mar 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Correction, i thought i had a CofO but i do not. I just have a form stating that i intend to occupy as my primary residence. I am now working with my realtor to see what can be done because this was something missed by her office that shouldn’t have been missed.

  • 12 lucky // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Now I don’t know what to do !! Im also buying a home In Roseville I wonder if it’s the same? I know the city whats to inspect it also cause the RED TAGGED it because it was a REO Hud Home.

  • 13 Kris Wales // Jul 18, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Lucky, if it’s tagged by the city, you will have to have a city inspection in order to be issued a certificate of occupancy. Did you put in your purchase agreement for an inspection contingency period?

  • 14 lucky // Aug 8, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Yes, I did have that and had a inspection a lot of minor things. But do need some electrical and that’s more money for permit also. The inspector said the house has good bones and newer windows

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