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Minneapolis REALTORS® Fight Mandatory Home Inspections

By HOM Editorial Team
July 2015

Having a home inspected before it is sold is a good idea for both the buyer and the seller. City ordinances that require those inspections are not. The Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® is working to repeal point-of-sale inspection ordinances enacted in some of the 200 cities in the Minneapolis metropolitan area.

Point-of-sale ordinances require the seller of real property to obtain (and pay for) a city inspection prior to the sale of the property. REALTORS® support home inspections whenever real property is sold. However, inspections, and any deficiencies discovered by those inspections, should be a matter for private negotiation between the buyer and seller.

An inspection required by city ordinance typically consists of a limited investigation based on a list of city-specified home requirements. The city does not warrant that the inspection is either comprehensive or reliable. This leaves buyers with only two options: rely on the city inspection, or pay for a second inspection.

City-mandated inspections usually prohibit any recourse against the city, even if the inspection is inaccurate. If a buyer gets their own inspection after a city-mandated inspection has already been performed, one house will be subject to two inspections. In some cases, the same house may be inspected three or four times (for example, if there are Federal Housing Administration appraisal requirements, yet another inspection will be conducted).

According to Julia Parenteau, the REALTORS® association’s director of government affairs, market research and economic analyses do not support the effectiveness of such ordinances. REALTORS® are working to have the ordinances repealed by presenting their research data to the cities and providing city councils with stories from the field that show the failures of mandated inspections.

City-mandated inspections are an unnecessary expense, and are no help to consumers. Instead, REALTORS® encourage home inspections, as well as public education about building code requirements.

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