Obtaining a home inspection is invaluable when you compare the cost of the inspection itself to the potential cost of any unforeseen problems that may arise well after closing. Saint Paul Realty always recommends obtaining a home inspection even if the home is brand new as builders can make mistakes as well. We can recommend inspectors to you or another great resource is The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) at www.ashi.org, where a list of qualified and licensed inspectors is available based upon your area.

Another great resource for locating a highly qualified home inspector is through the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors (MSHI) at www.mshi.org. Please download the .pdf attachment at the bottom of this page for Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector once you choose an inspector.

In addition and equally as important; several municipalities in Minnesota require a Licensed Evaluator to perform a Truth in Housing (TIH) or a Time of Sale (TOS) evaluation report. This is required before the home is even put on the market. Please refer to the spreadsheet below to check each of the city’s requirements.

For example, the Minneapolis Truth-in-Sale of Housing ordinance requires: That an evaluation by a licensed evaluator is to be performed to say what condition a house is in. The evaluation report will list any violations and the repairs that must be made before any single-family house, duplex, townhouse, or first-time condo conversion can be shown to prospective buyers. If a Certificate of Approval is not initially issued, a re-inspection must be done after any required repairs have been completed, which is separate from the initial evaluation. Once the Certificate of Approval is issued, the disclosure report must be displayed on the property so potential buyers can review it.

Truth in Sale of Housing

This information is provided by the City of Minneapolis here: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/ccs/TISH/ccs_tih-home

The Truth-in-Sale of Housing ordinance is meant to provide accurate information on the condition of property for sale and to help Minneapolis keep up the quality of housing available in the city. Truths in Sale of Housing reports are valid for 2 years or one sale.

Properties Covered by Ordinance
Types of residence Types of sales
Single-family houses
Duplexes
Townhouses
First-time condo conversions
Sale by owner
Sale by real estate agent
Real estate agent-assisted sale
Contract-for-deed
Other title transfer

Truth in Housing ordinance requires:

  1. A Truth in Housing evaluation (disclosure report) is needed for any sale of a single-family house, duplex, townhouse, or first-time condo conversion. The report needs to be done within 3 days of offering the property for sale (by listing, advertising, for-sale sign, etc) and before  it can be shown to prospective buyers. The evaluation can only be done by a Minneapolis licensed evaluator.
  2. The evaluation covers certain items and identifies required repairs. A copy of the evaluation report, the Certificate of Approval (if issued), and the list of repair items, can be found on the City’s Property Information website.
  3. The Truth in Housing Evaluation must also be displayed on the property so potential buyers can view at it.
  4. Repairs must be made when a house is sold. Buyers must sign the Acknowledgement of Responsibility (unless a Certificate of Approval has been issued) and file it with the City of Minneapolis within 1 day of the closing.  The buyer then has 90 days to complete all required repairs.  Learn more about required repairs.
  5. After the repairs have been completed, a re-inspection must be done. This is separate from the initial evaluation.
  6. See Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 12 Housing, Chapter 248: Truth in Sale of Housing and Chapter 250: Condominium Conversions.

What the Evaluation Includes

Below is a general list of what an evaluator will look at during a Truth-in-Housing evaluation. This is not a comprehensive list. Evaluators will provide you with a report explaining what (if any) repairs need to be made.

See Common Required Repairs for information on items that frequently need to be fixed by either the seller or buyer.

Items Covered Items Not Covered
Attic space & insulation
Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors
Ceiling height
Chimneys
Clutter
Columns & beams
Cornice & trim
Doors (frames/storms/screens/deadbolt locks)
Drainage (grade)
Egress
Electrical outlets & fixtures
Electrical service panel
Evidence of dampness/staining
Evidence of vermin
Exterior walls
Floor condition
Floor drains
Foundation
Garage (structure, doors & automatic opener)
Gas piping
Heating plant & auxiliary heating units
Plumbing fixtures
Porches & Stoops
Roof structure & covering
Roof venting
Sanitation
Sleeping rooms (including basement)
Smoke detectors
Stairs
Walls
Waste & vent piping
Water flow
Water heater
Water piping
Windows (frames/storms/screens)
These items are looked at but will not results in a required repair:30-amp or 60-amp electrical service, as long as it is not tampered with or over-fused.
Lack of basement (crawl spaces are OK).
Basement plumbing fixtures that are not vented, such as basement showers.
Chipped or peeling paint.
Galvanized plumbing system, as long as it is functional.
Holes in walls or ceilings.
Lack of laundry facilities, or lack of basement floor drain.
Missing storm or prime windows or doors.
Missing window sashes.
Plumbing “s” traps, except in basement.
Roofs
Torn carpet or broken tile.
These items are not looked at:

Non-essential systems such as woodstoves, fireplaces, or air conditioners.
Toxic substances such as asbestos, lead-based paint, formaldehyde, radon.

Condemned Properties

Condemned properties requiring a code compliance inspection have additional requirements and costs. See Code Compliance for Condemned Buildings for additional important information and forms before you buy.

TenImportantQuestionstoAskYourHomeInspector