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Home Inspection topics in the Twin Cities area

By Reuben Saltzman | Home Inspector in Minneapolis, MN
  • Buying a vacant property in Coon Rapids? Familiarize yourself with their "Water Restoration Permit" first.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Coon Rapids, Foreclosure in Coon Rapids, Property Q&A in Coon Rapids  |  December 6, 2011 3:13 AM  |  1,795 views  |  No comments

    I recently had a friend go through a huge hassle to get his water turned on after buying a vacant property in Coon Rapids.  His plan was to buy the house, get the water turned back on, and live in the house while he remodeled it going room by room.

    Shortly after buying the home, he contacted the city of Coon Rapids to have the water turned back on, and they told him they would need to inspect the house first.  The city ended up having a huge list of repairs that he would need to completebefore moving in to the house, and he ended up moving in about two months later than his planned move-in date.

    I called the building inspections department in Coon Rapid to ask about this, and as it turns out, these inspections have been required in Coon Rapids for about the last three years.  Apparently, the city of Coon Rapids will turn off the water supply to any property that is known to be vacant; they do this to reduce the risk of property damage from burst or frozen water pipes.  That's pretty standard procedure for just about any bank owned property, but the huge difference with Coon Rapids is the water restoration permit.

    Before the city of Coon Rapids will turn the water back on to a property, they need to have a Water Restoration Permit application filed, along with a $75 inspection fee.  After this permit gets filed, they'll inspect the property for safety.  If the house passes the inspection, they'll turn the water on.  If the house doesn't pass the inspection, repairs will need to be completed before the water can be turned back on.  Below is a list of the items that would prevent the water from being turned on - I copied this text exactly from their Water Restoration Permit form:

    • Furnace – Furnace must be operable & providing heat to dwelling.
    • Water heater – Must be correctly installed & operable.
    • Furnace or Water heater installed without a permit or inspection – *All plumbing & mechanical work must be permitted.
    • You may be required to hire a licensed contractor to inspect and pull permits for previously installed equipment per requirements of the Minnesota State Building Code.
    • Gas or Electric service – Service must be ‘turned on’ to property.
    • Wiring/exposed wiring – *Dwelling must not have any exposed wiring.
    • Plumbing – Dwelling must meet the ‘Minimum standards of habitation’& may not have any broken or damaged water pipes.
    • ‘Minimum standard’ is defined as a functioning kitchen sink, lavatory sink, water closet, shower or bathtub & proper back flow prevention.
    • Severe mold issues- A ‘Mold Remediation’ report may be required. (Please discuss plans for mold cleanup with Bldg Dept. staff)
    • Building must be weather tight - Dwelling must not have any door or window openings that are not covered.
    • Severe structural problems – As deemed by City of Coon Rapids Building Official.
    • Other items that could be deemed as a life safety concern.
    • Dwelling ‘Not habitable’ – Any circumstances deemed by the Building Official that property is unsuitable for habitation.
    I asked the Coon Rapids building inspections department if there was any type of form that needs to be provided to or signed by a potential home buyer to alert them to these requirements.  They said that the water restoration permit has nothing to do with the sale of a property, so no - there are no methods in place to inform a potential home buyer of this requirement.  They leave it up to the real estate agent or home buyer to contact the city to ask about this stuff before buying a home in Coon Rapids.
    The bottom line is that if you're buying a home in Coon Rapids, this is something you need to be aware of.  I always recommend having the water turned on to a property before the home inspection, but this is especially important in Coon Rapids.  For more information about this requirement, click here - Coon Rapids water restoration information.

    Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Minnesota Home Inspections


  • Coon Rapids Deck Collapse - Why It Happened

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in Coon Rapids  |  July 13, 2010 3:18 AM  |  816 views  |  No comments

    If you watched the news this weekend, you probably heard about the deck collapse that happened in Coon Rapids on Friday.  On WCCO news, they even had an expert speculate that the deck collapsed because it wasn't properly secured to the house.  When I hear news stories about a deck collapses, they usually say they'll come back to the story once they learn what the problem was, but they never do...

    so I decided to inspect this Coon Rapids deck myself.  Here's what I found:

    Epic Fail

    According to WCCO, there were only five people on this deck when it collapsed.  The problem wasn't that the deck was improperly attached to the house - this deck was completely missing a post.

    I marked up two photos to show exactly what went wrong.  

    As you can see, one corner of the deck wasn't help up by anything.  The floor joist that was closest to house is what was actually holding up that entire corner of the deck.  It's a wonder this deck even supported it's own weight.

    While most advice about deck safety deals with proper bolts, nails, brackets, etc, it's just as important to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Proper nails and bolts aren't a substitute for a proper load path back to the ground.

    Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Minnesota Deck Inspections

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