As seen in “Our Colorado News.” Written by John Kokish.
You have just signed a contract to make the largest purchase that you probably will ever make in your lifetime – – a home. Not only is it wise to understand the details of the purchase contract, but it is also important to understand potential problems you may be facing in the home itself. That is what home inspections are all about. Theoretically, you can inspect a home yourself. However, when you purchase a home, the average buyer looks for reasons to buy it and not for problems the home might have. That is why an unbiased home inspector, who will cost you somewhere between $250-$500 depending on the size of the home, is almost mandatory in any home purchase.
In Colorado, home inspectors do not have any licensing requirements. Most home inspectors enroll in a course that teaches them what to look for. However, because there is no state test in Colorado, an inspector who graduates from an authorized course can begin inspecting homes right away. Therefore, you should always inquire how many homes the inspector that you are planning to hire has inspected so that you are not getting a rookie.
It is also important to know that most contracts required by home inspectors in Colorado limit their liability in the event they fail to disclose serious defects. That means if the inspector fails to notice a serious mold condition that may require up to several thousand dollars worth of remediation, the most you can expect to collect against him in a suit is the amount that you paid him for the inspection.
The main things the inspector will look for in reviewing the condition of the home is the heating system, plumbing, electrical system, and central air conditioning system, as well as the roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, landscaping and visible structure. Most inspectors will also offer you additional services such as radon testing, water testing and termite inspection, all at an extra but minimal charge.
The standard Colorado real estate purchase contract allows a buyer to require the seller to remedy unsatisfactory conditions, adjust the purchase price or terminate the contract. In fact, the inspection clause allows the buyer a complete escape from the purchase contract for any reason or no reason at all. It is one of several escape clauses in the contract that sellers should be aware of when taking their homes off the market. If a buyer is acting in good faith, he will provide for an early inspection in the contract so that he can exercise the clause early if need be to allow the seller to put the house back on the market. A seller should be wary of buyers who leave the inspection too far down the road, especially in the high selling season. Responsible real estate brokers representing buyers will call for an early inspection so that their buyer can get an early estimate of what corrections, if any, the home needs.
In any case, a home inspection is a must for a buyer and is even a good idea for an individual that is not selling his or her home to just get an independent opinion if there are any issues in the home that need immediate correction.