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Home Inspectors Busy During Hot Housing Market

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If you're looking to buy a house, be ready for some serious competition.

New figures out show new housing listings fell again last month, bringing us to the lowest amount in the Twin Cities market since April 2003. While the supply is down, the want to purchase a home is not.

Houses are selling in an average of 21 days. The average home is selling for around $250,000.

Once you find the house, the process still isn't over. In fact, it's far from over. Here, it's not uncommon for houses to be sold the same day they hit the market.

After that, you typically get an inspection to make sure everything is in working order. But a hot housing market is making finding an inspector another hurdle.

It's another busy day for Reuben Saltzman with Structure Tech Home Inspections.

"It's been crazy," Saltzman said.

He has 13 home inspectors on his staff. Right now, they're booking appointments at the earliest sometimes 10 days out. That's typically the maximum amount of days allowed for home buyers to inspect and if necessary, rescind their offer.

"We get calls from people constantly saying 'Hey we need you to do the inspection for us. We have five calendar days and 5 business days.' We tell them we can't," Saltzman said.

Some buyers are forgoing inspections altogether to try to win a bid in the crazy market. Reuben says that's a dangerous investment.

"Sometimes I can just walk up to a wall and give it a little push and know 'Oh there's nothing left behind here.' it takes a trained eye to see those things," Saltzman said.

Reuben recommends two things to help your secure an inspection in a hot housing market:

First, check the availability of local inspectors before you sign a purchase agreement. And second, try to avoid negotiating with a shorter inspection window to give yourself enough time.

While the shortage of inspectors is tough for buyers, Saltzman says he's OK with seeing "Sold" signs up and down the street.

"I'm quite ok with this busy market. It's keeping all my guys busy," Saltzman said.

Your typical home inspection can start anywhere from $300 to $400 and go up from there. It's also important to know radon testing is usually a separate inspection you can have done, and many buyers also check the sewer system.

So you want to make sure you ask if an inspector will do all of those things or if you need to find separate people.


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