If you are buying or selling a home that is within the city limits or St. Paul you need a truth in housing report. The home owner pays to have an inspector who is a approved by the city do a complete inspection of the home. The inspection is required under city ordinance.
Here is a secret that many Realtors don’t know. Anyone can view a truth in housing report on the internet. You can also look to see if the home owner has had any city permits for work on the house.
If you are a buyer and want to know more about a home before going to see it look at the truth in housing report. The older homes in St. Paul often have multiple comments or code violations. Home owners are not required to fix anything except all homes must have a hard wired smoke detector.
Sellers can get a list of the most common deficiencies and fix them before the inspection. It isn’t a bad idea for buyers to check out the list of common deficiencies so that the truth in housing reports make more sense. I think I have seen a zillion of them.
Not all municipalities require truth in housing reports and in some municipalities like Minneapolis and South Saint Paul sellers are required to fix anything on the report that is considered hazardous.
In Saint Paul all open permits on a home must be closed before the sale can be closed. Usually it is just a matter of contacting the building inspector and having him sign off that the repairs were done correctly.
I have found that I have to check for open permits for my buyers because the law requiring that they be closed isn’t enforced very well and it is possible that no one will notice that the home has open permits.