There are both legal and contractual requirements governing how to sell your home. The legal requirements are found in a local “Point of Sale” or “Use and Occupancy” ordinance, enforced by the township or borough. Costs are usually minimal, and the need to protect health and safety is balanced by a general rule that ordinances should not be overly invasive.
In Radnor Township, for example, sellers must sign an affidavit stating there are smoke detectors and that the sump pump does not connect to the public sewer. Also, an outside inspection of house numbers, sidewalks – and possible illegal sewer connections – is required.
Overzealous enforcement can be tough on sellers, whose only recourse is to complain to elected officials. One seller I know (not from our area) had to replace all the balusters on his deck to meet current code. And a buyer was refused a certificate of occupancy because an underground drainage pipe ran from the road to a backyard stream with no recorded easement to PennDOT requiring it to be maintained.
In nearby Tredyffrin Township, by contrast, no resale certificate is required for existing home sales, although a “Use and Occupancy” requirement for new construction applies standards for builders.
As for contractual requirements, many home inspectors will highlight items not “up to code” – such as ground fault interrupter electric outlets or fully-accessible basements, now required in new construction – and many buyers will ask that the items be “fixed.” However, homeowners are not required to upgrade to meet newer codes, and standard agreements do not entitle buyers to a home that’s entirely up to code.