In Saint Paul homeowners who are selling their home are required to have a Truth in Housing Inspection. Those reports are not always available as they should be. Anyone can look up a St. Paul property and get the Truth in Housing Report if there is one.
The city has a list of items that they check. Most of it is basic safety and homeowners are not required to make repairs but homes have to have at least one hard wired smoke detector and any open permits finalized before the property can change hands.
Often homeowners do not know that they have open permits. That information is on the Truth in Housing Report. If the permits do not get closed the sale may be delayed. Home buyers should look up the property and check for open permits.
Sometimes looking through closed permits is a good way to find out about work that was done on the property. Sometimes it is obvious that work that requires permits has been done but there are no permits.
Some of the work done without a permit might not have been done properly which can mean that work has to be redone before related permits can be pulled and closed.
There have been cases where lenders have asked that permits be pulled and closed before they will approve a loan. That can mean tearing into a wall to inspect some plumbing. I am not making this up, it has happened. Get information about permits on the StPaul.gov web site. I would include a link but the city moves pages around often creating broken links which are like a broken promise.
Other municipalities have a different set of rules. Minneapolis, South Saint Paul, and others require hazardous items to be repaired. Some cities do not require any kind of inspection.