The Home Inspection - What to expect - and inspect!
The Home Inspection in MN – What to expect – and inspect!

The Home Inspection in MN – What to expect – and inspect!

Home Inspection in MN

There are two “inspections” that take place before you purchase a home; the buyers home inspection and the appraisal.  The inspection is for the homeowner – the appraisal is for the lender. When you write an offer for the home, we will include an “inspection contingency” which will outline the “Inspection Period” (typically 7-10 days).  This is the timeframe you will have to complete the inspection,  provide the seller with a list of requested repairs, and negotiate those repairs.  You may also decide during this time frame not to purchase home.

This is a contingency, which means that the purchase of the home is contingent upon the inspection results being satisfactory to you.  If you feel that there are too many issues to overcome, you do have the option to cancel the purchase agreement. Most of the time, the buyer and seller can agree on how to resolve any inspection issues and the purchase can move forward.

You have the ability to hire any inspector you like.  We recommend not hiring a friend or family member, unless they do inspections for a living,  as they may not have the tools needed to do a thorough job.  However, you can have them attend the inspection with you if you like. When you schedule the inspection, you have the option of attending the entire inspection (2-3 hours on average) or you can meet the inspector toward the end, and review findings at that time.  Discuss timing with the inspector when setting the appointment.  You will pay the inspector at the time of inspection so bring your checkbook.  Some inspectors will arrange with you to pay by credit card up front.  Let your agent know when the inspection will take place, as we will try to be there for the summary at the end.

What are we looking for in an inspection?

The property inspection should expose the secret issues a home might hide so you know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign your closing papers.  The inspector WILL find issues with the home, this is what they are hired to do.  If you are not buying a new home, you cannot expect the home to be in new condition.  The inspector will point out any and all current and potential issues, and you will need to decide which issues, if any, you would like the seller to address.   We are looking for health and safety issues, and deferred maintenance that may cause problems later. 

  • A major concern is structural damage.
  • A home inspector typically does not have permission to drill into walls or cause any damage to the home.  They cannot inspect what they cannot see.
  • Refer to the sellers disclosure statement during the walk through with the inspector so you can ask questions about anything the seller has disclosed.
  • If you have a big problem show up in your inspection report, you should bring in a specialist. For example, if the inspector suspects there may be moisture issues, this would be the time to hire a specialist.
  • The inspection checklist is not meant to be a list to send to the seller to repair everything. We are looking for health and safety issues, and major deferred maintenance.  Your agent will discuss with you a strategy for approaching the seller to request repairs.
  • Ask the inspector any questions you may have about how to operate systems in the home.

City Required Inspections

Some cities require that the seller have a pre sale or Truth in Housing Inspection prior to listing the home.  Your agent should provide a copy of this report to you before you write an offer.  This does not replace having your own inspection, but will alert you to any items prior to the inspection.

A list of cities that require a pre sale inspection

Radon Testing

Minnesota now has a radon disclosure law, which means if the seller has ever had the home tested for radon, they have to disclose that to the buyer.  You will have the option to have a radon test during your inspection period.   Let the inspector know up front if you would like that testing done.   Click here for information on Radon Gas.   If radon gas is found at a high level (typically above 4.0) then you may decide to ask the seller to pay for a mitigation system.

Keeping Your Home Safe from Radon Gas – Printable Brochure

 Well and Septic Testing

If the home has a well and septic system, there is a separate contingency used for this.  We will ask that the seller provide certification for the septic system and a well water test to make sure the water is safe to drink.  In most cases we will ask the seller to pay for the septic certification and the well water test and deliver the results to us within about 10 days.  The septic system can be a large expense if it needs to be replaced,  and likely your lender will want assurance that the system is working properly and the water is safe.  Some counties will require that the septic system be certified before the property changes hands.  As this is a contingency, it can be another point of negotiation if issues are found.

Information on Septic Systems in Minnesota

Lead Based Paint Testing

If they home you are purchasing was built prior to 1978, the seller will have to provide a lead based paint disclosure.  If you have concerns that lead based paint is present, you have the opportunity to hire a professional to test the paint in the home.

A guide to Lead Based Paint in homes – Required Reading if the home was built prior to 1978

Other Items to consider during the inspection period

This is your opportunity to do your homework or “due diligence” before moving forward to purchase the home.  You may also want to check out the following during the inspection period.

Local School Information

Crime Rates  and home Police Report history- call the local police department or sheriff and ask for a “Call Report” if you are concerned about the history of the home.

Predatory Offender Information

Drive around the area and familiarize yourself with the homes surroundings.  This is your opportunity to ask questions and gather information.

Negotiating after a buyer’s home inspection – click here


The appraisal is different from the inspection as the appraiser is hired to let the lender know the value of the home.   FHA, VA, Rural Development and even Conventional appraisals will also include a check for health and safety issues and any major structural damage to the home.  If the appraiser calls out items to be repaired, we will typically go back to the seller to negotiate these repairs.  Usually most items have already been addressed due to the inspection, so it is not common for the appraiser to call out items, but it can happen.  Realistically, if the items the appraiser calls out are not repaired, you will not be able to get the loan. These items will need to be repaired before closing.

Photo by Stephan Bechert on Unsplash