Friday, April 10, 2015

Pre-Inspection, Truth-In-Housing, Point-of Sale--What's The Diffence?

During a pre-listing visit with home sellers I am often asked whether there is a state or county requirement for pre-inspecting a home.  On occasion a seller will mention a friend or relative that had their home inspected prior to the first potential buyer walking in the door. 

Having a home inspection before the sale can be beneficial and optional but can also be required in some Twin Cities communities. The benefit comes at the time of  the offer, when some buyers will actually opt to forgo the inspection, choosing to just read the report. Buyers can also contact the inspector of the initial report for a private walk-though at a discounted rate. I am often asked if this is a common practice in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

In Minnesota, there is no Truth-In-Housing inspection requirement to sell your home at the state or county level. There is however several communities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area that do require a pre-inspection report. These go by many names: Truth-in-Sale of Housing Disclosure, Time-of Sale, Time-of-Sale Code Compliance, Dwelling Maintenance and Occupancy Code Compliance, Housing Code Compliance Inspection or Housing Maintenance Code Inspection. Some of these inspections are done by inspectors that are city employees while other communities have licensed, private inspectors to perform the inspection of the home to meet the city requirements. In this instance it would be the homeowner’s responsibility to select a private inspector to perform the inspection prior to listing the home for sale.

The Twin Cities communities that currently require a home inspection are:
Private Inspectors (Selected by Homeowner)
  • Bloomington
  • Hopkins
  • Maplewood
  • Minneapolis
  • Robbinsdale
  • St. Paul
  • South St. Paul

City Inspectors
  • Crystal
  • New Hope
  • Osseo
  • Richfield
  • St Louis Park

Can a home seller have a home pre-inspected even if the city does not have a point of sale requirement?
Absolutely! Having your property pre-inspected with a written inspection report available to potential buyers can speed along the negotiations for many buyers. Some buyers will choose to review the report and not have another inspection completed making the offer not-contingent on an inspection. Other buyers will choose to have the inspector who did the pre-inspection come out to the home to explain the details in the report. This is often completed for a reduced fee to the buyer since the work has been completed and it is not as time consuming to the inspector. However a pre-inspection does not guarantee that the buyer will not opt to hire their own independent inspector of the home.

If I give an Inspection or Truth-In-Housing Report, do I have to complete a seller’s disclosure?
That depends.  State law requires that you disclose what you know about the condition of the home so in most cases, a full seller’s property disclosure would be completed by the home owner even if an inspection report is available. However, in the case of an estate or rental property where the owner did not live in the home and has limited information regarding the property to disclose, an inspector’s report can be provided along with an alternative, minimized disclosure that meets all state requirements.

Another note on wells and septic systems: 
Many communities and some counties have point of sale inspection requirements for the septic system and/or private well serving the property in addition to disclosures required as part of a purchase agreement.  Contact me for additional details

Ready to list your Minneapolis/St Paul Home?  Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of Boardman Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

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