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Know Before You Close: Smoke Detector Inspections


Building on Island

Lara Hanson
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The process of selling a house can seem daunting, but your Fisher agent will be your go-to resource every step of the way to help navigate the initial listing phase, the offer and contract process, and any inspections and final hurdles to clear before closing. One such inspection pertains to smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Massachusetts General Law dictates that upon the sale or transfer of certain homes, the seller must install approved smoke and CO alarms. This was originally targeted for residences that were built or renovated prior to the creation of the Massachusetts State Building Code in 1975. However it is now required for all properties regardless of the date they were built or renovated. Depending on the year of the building permit, there may be specific regulations pertaining to that period. Your agent will help you determine the appropriate dates and alarm criteria.

The three major points to consider are type, location, and expiration. Based on when your house was built, certain types of smoke and CO alarms are to be used, along with specific locations in the residence. All smoke and CO alarms have a manufacture date printed on them, and anything over 10 years old must be replaced – regardless of working condition.

For more specific information from the MA Department of Fire Services, please click here.

Once you have a closing date scheduled, your agent will schedule this inspection with the Fire Prevention Officers. After a successful inspection, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued and should be passed on to the seller’s attorney. This certificate is good for 60 days so this inspection is typically done a week or so prior to closing in case there are any delays. Please notify your agent if you use an alarm company as additional paperwork will be required.

Written By

Lara Hanson

An 8th generation Nantucketer, Lara's roots trace back through several historic whaling families, most notably the Starbucks. Growing up on the island...