Buying a home? Selling a home? One of the key steps in the transaction process is either having a home inspection performed on the home you’re planning to purchase or enduring an inspection on the property that you’re selling. Here’s a look at what that means here in Colorado.

Home inspections generally aren’t mandatory when purchasing property via a conventional mortgage, but they’re always recommended. That’s because a home inspector can better give you an accurate assessment of the property, identifying issues that need to be corrected near-term as well as things that may need to be repaired in the future. A good home inspector can also identify major issues, such as mold growth or foundation problems, that could make or break a real estate deal should they not be corrected or negotiated in advance of the transaction.

This post will take a closer look at the value and role of a home inspector, especially as it comes to real estate transactions in Colorado.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspector is a licensed professional who conducts a thorough, non-invasive assessment regarding the condition of a home. A good home inspection will often take several hours to complete, and will consist of the assessment of various key home components and equipment, such as:

  • The HVAC system
  • Plumbing
  • The circuit breaker and electrical systems
  • The roof
  • The attic
  • Condition of walls, ceilings and floors
  • The basement
  • The foundation
  • The overall structure

As we said in the opening, a home inspector specializes in non-invasive inspections. They won’t be cutting into drywall or prying up floorboards, the inspection will primarily consist of inspecting what they can see. Some inspectors will also offer additional services, such as snaking a camera into the sewer drain or testing for radon levels. Some may also use IR cameras to see inside walls for any potential plumbing leaks.

Following the formal inspection, the inspector will file a report detailing their findings and any issues that need to be addressed.

What to Ask When Hiring a Home Inspector

Need to hire a home inspector? It’s always best to do your due diligence to make sure you’re working with one that’s credible, professional and won’t rush the process. Work with your real estate agent to get a list of recommendations. While you’re vetting various inspectors, be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Are you licensed or certified? While there’s no national standard for this, each state does have requirements.
  • How experienced are you? How many inspections have you performed? You want an experienced inspector that knows what to look for.
  • Do you offer additional services beyond the standard inspection (i.e., material testing, radon testing, IR cameras, sewer drain inspection, etc.).
  • How long can I expect the inspection to take? Inspections normally take a few hours. You don’t want the inspector to rush through things and potentially miss something big.
  • Can I see a sample of the report I’ll receive after the inspection? This can help you learn how detailed the findings are documented with the inspectors you’re considering.
  • Is the inspector an alarmist? No home is perfect and inspection reports will reflect this. However, it’s always best to hire an inspector that will keep everything in perspective regarding their findings. We’d caution you from hiring an “alarmist.” Instead, try to hire someone who will be honest, yet not present a doomsday scenario for every issue – no matter how big or small – they discover.
  • Can I join you on the inspection? This allows you to see and understand issues for yourself rather than rely on the written report. It also allows you to ask questions on anything the inspector may identify.

What Should the Inspector Look for in Your Home?

The answer: everything!

Part of a thorough home inspection is analyzing everything. And while no home is perfect and each will have its share of issues and recommendations for repair, there may be certain findings that require immediate attention. Here’s a closer look at some of these things an inspector may find that need to be immediately addressed:

  • Building code issues
  • Mold
  • Rodents or a pest infestation
  • Structural or foundation issues
  • Asbestos
  • Lead paint
  • Environmental health hazards
  • Basement cracks/visible leaks