Charles “Chuck” Blixt liked to uncover the story behind a house.
Blixt was a pioneer in the home inspection industry and helped start the National Association of Home Inspectors, the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors and Inspecta-Homes, one of the oldest and largest home inspection companies in the Midwest.
Blixt died Nov. 20 at 87.
“I think his gift was he had the ability to explain complicated issues to people in terms that they would understand,” said his son Jeff Blixt, president and owner of Inspecta. “He was not an alarmist, but he gave people the information that was most important to them.”
Blixt, born in 1929 in Minneapolis, attended Southwest High School, where he played football. He graduated in 1948, and soon after married his wife, Nancy. Blixt served in the U.S. Navy for two years in Washington, D.C., including time in the ceremonial guard, before moving back to the Midwest. He worked for the National Gypsum Company in Iowa selling construction products before he opened a carpet store in south Minneapolis.
In the mid-1970s, Blixt began his career path in home inspection. He became one of the first inspectors to be licensed by the city of Minneapolis as a Truth-in-Sale-of-Housing evaluator. In Minneapolis, Truth-in-Housing evaluations are now needed almost anytime a home is to be sold to identify required repairs. At the time, the idea of a home inspection was a fairly new concept.
“There was nothing,” Jeff Blixt said. “You had your uncle come and look at [your home] and hope it was OK. There was no such thing as a home inspection.”
He said his father enjoyed investigating homes and discovering the causes for conditions he found, and he felt that inspections were an important asset to both buyers and sellers. Once he was inspecting a home for a landlord who had a particularly unpleasant tenant. He ended up discovering a bunch of marijuana plants hanging from the ceiling in the attic.
In 1978, Blixt co-founded and became the first president of the Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors. At the time, there weren’t any uniform standards for how to perform inspections. Blixt and other inspectors decided to become members of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), which had outlined some guidelines. He would later go on to serve in various positions as a member of the Great Lakes chapter of ASHI and eventually co-founded the five-state Heartland chapter of ASHI, serving as its first president.
In 1981, Blixt co-founded Inspecta-Homes, the first private residential building inspection service in Minnesota, northern Iowa and northwestern Wisconsin.
Years later, Blixt helped start and became president of the National Association of Home Inspectors Inc., a risk retention group for home inspectors through which they could buy errors and omissions insurance.
“His strength was seeing the need and being able to do the legwork to be able to keep an organization going so that our voice could be heard,” said Roger Hankey, Blixt’s friend and former business partner, who often made presentations with him to real estate companies and government agencies. “We knew that it was important to try to maintain standards and try to present information in a neutral unbiased way and to try to have some uniformity so that people could understand that this was an established profession.”
Blixt was always very cheerful and when he was asked how his day was going he normally replied with a smile and said, “Better than nothing at all,” his wife, Nancy said. During his free time, Blixt liked to ski.
Blixt is survived by his wife and their sons, Charlie (Elaine), Jeff (Bev) and Matt (Joy). Services will be held in the spring.