Buying a home is one of the biggest investments most people will ever make. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional home inspection done before finalizing any real estate transaction. This guide will provide an overview of home inspections in Denver Colorado, what to expect, why they matter, and how to choose the right home inspector.
What is a Home Inspection?
A home inspection is a detailed visual examination of the physical condition of a house and its systems. The inspection covers everything from the roof, exterior, foundation, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and more.
The goal of a home inspection is to identify any issues with the home before the buyer finalizes the purchase. An inspection helps protect the buyer from unexpected repairs and gives them information to negotiate with the seller if problems are found.
Inspectors will provide a detailed written report outlining any issues discovered during the 2-4 hour inspection process. They will also include repair cost estimates when possible.
Why are Home Inspections Important in Denver?
Denver has a range of older, historic homes as well as newer construction. No matter the age, a home inspection is strongly recommended for all property types in the area.
Here are some key reasons why home inspections Denver CO are so important in Denver:
- Denver’s Climate: The city experiences all four seasons, including extreme temperature fluctuations. This can place stress on the home’s roof, siding, foundation, and more over time. An inspector can identify any related damage.
- Age of Housing Stock: Over 50% of Denver homes are over 50 years old. Older electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other systems may need repairs or upgrading.
- Growth & Development: As a quickly growing city, some Denver neighborhoods have experienced rushed construction. An inspection makes sure the home was built properly.
- High Value Investment: Denver real estate prices continue to rise. Paying for an inspection is a small price to protect such a major investment.
- Peace of Mind: The information from a home inspection gives buyers confidence in their purchase decision or helps them negotiate repairs with the seller.
Bottom line – buying a home, especially in a hot real estate market like Denver, comes with inherent risks. A home inspection helps reduce those risks.
What Does a Home Inspection Cover in Denver?
While inspection scopes can vary slightly, there are basic components that should be covered in any standard Denver home inspection:
- Roof: Materials, age, condition of flashings, gutters and downspouts, visible sections of the attic
- Exterior: Siding, paint, trim, windows, doors, decks, patios, eaves, driveways, walkways
- Structure/Foundation: Visible portions of the foundation walls and structure, checking for cracks or water damage
- Electrical: Main service panel, wiring, outlets, switches, breakers, grounding
- Plumbing: Water supply and drainage pipes, water heater, fixtures, gas lines, sump pump
- HVAC: Furnace, heat pump, air conditioning unit, thermostats, distribution, ventilation
- Insulation: Type, levels in walls, attic and floors
- Interiors: Ceilings, walls, floors, windows, doors, built-in appliances, garage, fireplace/chimney
- Ventilation/Humidity: Kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas
- Pest/Termite Infestation: Visible signs of wood damaging pests, termites and conducive conditions
- Radon Gas: Testing for the presence of the invisible, radioactive gas
- Recall Items: Checking for recalled appliances, systems or building materials
- Safety Concerns: Smoke/CO detectors, GFCIs, handrails, fire hazards, trip risks
A standard home inspection will cover all of the major systems and components. Additional inspections like sewer scopes or mold testing can also be arranged.
What to Expect During a Home Inspection in Denver
Inspections are generally scheduled after a buyer’s offer is accepted. They usually take 2-4 hours to complete depending on the home’s size and age.
Here are some things buyers can expect during a typical home inspection in Denver:
- Detailed visual examination of the interior and exterior areas accessible to the inspector
- Inspectors taking photos and notes of their observations
- Checking of electrical, heating and plumbing fixtures
- Roof examination from an eaves viewpoint with binoculars
- Appliances being turned on to test functionality
- Inspector viewing the attic, crawl spaces, basement areas
- Operation of garage doors, sprinkler systems, gas fireplaces
- Zone testing of HVAC and plumbing in multiple areas
- Inspection of foundations, doors, windows, insulation levels
- Testing for radon gas, mold, lead paint, or asbestos as applicable
- Discussion of any issues or concerns discovered during the inspection
Buyers are encouraged to attend their home inspection so they can see the home through the inspector’s experienced eyes. The inspector can also answer any questions during or after.
Why Should I Hire a Qualified Home Inspector in Denver?
Inspections require an unbiased, trained eye to spot subtle signs of damage or potential problems. Home inspectors have the expertise to thoroughly evaluate all aspects of the property.
There are also specific certifications inspectors can earn once they have completed the required training, testing and inspections:
- International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
- American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)
- International Code Council Residential Combination Inspector (IRC)
Look for Denver home inspectors with these certifications along with membership in professional organizations. This helps confirm their qualifications and commitment to ongoing education.
Also verify the inspector carries errors and omissions insurance. This protects both the inspector and consumer in the unlikely event something is missed on the inspection.
How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost in Denver?
Home inspection fees will vary depending on factors like:
- Home’s square footage
- Home’s age and complexity
- Scope of inspection services needed
- Additional testing required
- Extra inspection for outbuildings
- Travel distance for inspector
Typical inspection costs for a standard 2,500 square foot Denver home range from $300-$500, but can be higher if additional services are required. Be sure to ask inspectors about their specific rates.
The inspection fee is generally paid directly to the inspector on the day of service. Some inspectors require partial payment upfront.
Inspection costs may be negotiable especially during the slower fall/winter months. Reputable inspectors won’t perform rushed or discounted inspections just to get business.
Always get an estimate from the inspector in advance so there are no pricing surprises. Buyers should view inspection costs as a wise investment that can save much larger expenses down the road.
What to Do If Problems are Found During the Inspection
No home is perfect, so minor issues being found during an inspection is completely normal in Denver. However, major issues can also be uncovered in any property or systems.
If large problems are identified, buyers have a few options:
- Request the seller make repairs: Buyers can negotiate with the seller to pay for and complete repairs prior to closing. Payment amounts and repair time frame should be agreed to in writing.
- Ask for closing credits: Sellers can provide a closing cost credit so the buyer can arrange repairs themselves after closing. Estimated repair costs should be obtained.
- Renegotiate the sale price: Buyers can use inspection findings as leverage to negotiate a lower purchase price, reflecting the costs to make the needed repairs.
- Terminate the contract: In severe cases, buyers may decide to cancel the purchase if repairs are too extensive or sellers refuse to negotiate fixes. Get legal guidance before terminating any real estate contracts.
Inspection results can also influence buyers to update their homeowners insurance or home warranty policies to cover certain systems and components.
Top Tips for a Smooth Home Inspection in Denver
To get the most out of their Denver home inspection, buyers should:
- Research inspectors thoroughly and read online reviews. Verify licenses and certifications.
- Interview multiple inspectors before hiring one. Ask about their experience, processes and pricing.
- Schedule the inspection as soon as possible after an accepted offer. Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Plan to attend the inspection in person so you can see the home through the inspector’s eyes.
- Allow at least 2-4 hours for a standard inspection, more for larger homes.
- Give the inspector full access to all areas of the home during the appointment.
- Never let real estate agents recommend an inspector as they are not unbiased.
- Don’t make emotional decisions based on inspection findings – work with professionals to determine next steps.
- Understand that no home is perfect. Focus on identifying major issues vs minor repairs.
- Be prepared to negotiate repairs or credits if the inspection uncovers significant problems.
Having a professional home inspections Denver CO before closing on a property is absolutely essential, especially in a market like Denver. Inspections provide buyers with an objective, in-depth analysis of the home’s condition from qualified experts.
While inspectors can’t identify every microscopic issue, their reports help buyers understand the true condition of all home systems and components. Inspection results also provide a basis for negotiating any repairs that are needed.
For most buyers, a home is the largest investment they will ever make. Spending money upfront on an inspection can prevent exponentially greater expenses later on. It brings peace of mind knowing you have objective information to make a wise purchasing decision.
With this guide, Denver homebuyers now understand the home inspection process, why it matters, and how to choose the right inspector. Be sure to research inspectors thoroughly, ask lots of questions, and use the inspection period wisely. Let the discoveries guide next steps – either moving forward confidently with the purchase or addressing any findings before closing. The small effort for an inspection now is well worth it to protect your investment in the future.