Hidden away in the recesses
of the internet is a website that is a â€˜must readâ€™ for consumers who are
considering buying a home in Minneapolis.
The site is the City of Minneapolis
Property Info page.
Whatâ€™s so special about this
With it you can access recent
â€˜Truth in Sale of Housingâ€™ reports, inspection permits, special assessments and
thereâ€™s even a link to Hennepin
County tax records.
With a copy of a â€˜Truth in
Sale of Housingâ€™ Report in hand, you can be a more informed consumer when
looking for the â€˜perfect homeâ€™.
As an agent, I always check
Truth in Sale of Housing and inspection permits BEFORE going to a listing. This
can often tell me whether itâ€™s worth my gas money (and the clients time) or
whether there is an unfound gem just waiting to be found.
Perhaps motivated by warmer
weather, low interest rates and an improving economy, Twin Cities home sales
surged in February with a 34 percent increase over February 2011, according to
the Minneapolis Association of Realtors (MAAR).
New active listings were also
up 1.1 percent from February 2011, but the number of active listings continued
to drop, down 27 percent from last year. Inventory levels have dropped to 2003
levels with a 4.6 month supply of homes on the market.
The February numbers also
offer a hint that home buyers might be tiring of foreclosures. Traditional (non
foreclosure / non short sale) sales surged 36 percent with foreclosure sales
increasing 8.5 percent. Sales of short sale homes shot up 36 percent, which
might be a sign that lenders are now equipped to perform on short sales before
letting home owners slip into foreclosure.
Source: MAAR press release.
If you own a home (or are buying a home) built prior to 1978, chances are lead based paint is present somewhere in the home. Why is that a concern? Because when lead based chips are ingested by children, it can lead to neurological and other physical ailments.
Up until the late 1970s lead was used in paint as it provided a cheap, water resistant opaque quality to oil based paints. But today we know that lead can be toxic, so paints made today rely on titanium dioxide and resins.
When it comes to buying and selling a home, the number one deal breaker (if going FHA, VA) is peeling paint. If you're a home seller with peeling paint, its best to get it remediated prior to listing. Today the EPA has strict guidelines on who is qualified to remediate lead paint. So this is definitely not a job for a home owner.
For more information about lead paint, follow this link to the EPA.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers
to replace the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
this weekend for Daylight Saving Time. This year, Daylight Saving Time
begins on Sunday, March 11. Fresh batteries allow smoke and CO alarms to
do their jobs saving lives by alerting families of a fire or a buildup
of deadly carbon monoxide in their homes.
CPSC estimates there was a yearly average of 386,300 residential fires resulting in nearly 2,400 deaths between 2006 and 2008.
Two-thirds of fire deaths occur in homes where there are no smoke
alarms or no working smoke alarms. That is why it is important to
replace batteries at least once every year and to test your alarms every
month to make sure they work. CPSC recommends consumers have smoke
alarms on every level of their home, outside bedrooms and inside each
CPSC estimates there was an annual average of 183 unintentional
non-fire CO poisoning deaths associated with consumer products between
2006 and 2008. CO is called the "invisible killer," because it is a
colorless, odorless and poisonous gas. Because of this, people may not
know they are being poisoned. Carbon monoxide is produced by the
incomplete burning of fuel in various products, including furnaces,
portable generators, fireplaces, cars and charcoal grills. That is why
it is important to have working CO alarms in the home, on each level and
outside each sleeping area. Courtesy CPSC.GOV
Much has been written about the dangers of asbestos and how it was once either used or was organically a part of attic insulation, steam pipe insulation and even kitchen hot pads and pop up toasters.
But asbestos also lurks in the flooring under our feet. Between the 1940s and 1970s floor manufacturers mixed asbestos into their floor tile or used it as a backing material for resilient sheet flooring. And example of this is the asbestos backing shown in the above photograph.
Asbestos becomes dangerous when the microscopic fibers are separated and then breathed in, potentially causing mesothelioma and asbestosis which are common lung diseases among those who worked around asbestos.
If you think the flooring in your home has asbestos, don't attempt to remove it yourself. Trust a licensed asbestos remediation expert to test and remove it - if it's necessary. If the flooring is in good shape (no cracking, abrasions, cuts) leave it alone. And never sand, buff or mechanically scrub a floor with asbestos. Source EPA.