A key element of every contract to buy a home is the inspection contingency, giving the buyer the opportunity to inspect the home for hidden or not-so-hidden defects.
The process begins with a general inspector, who looks at every component of the house. Expect to pay $300 or so, depending on house size. This inspector will typically…
> Run all the appliances—washer, dryer, disposal, dishwasher, cooktop burners, ovens, hood fan, etc.
> Fill, then drain, all sinks and tubs and run all showers, searching for leaks.
> Test the garage door opener, including checking to see if it has working sensors which reverse the closing door if something is detected or if it will reverse upon hitting an obstruction.
> Check the garage for holes in the fire break (drywall) and if the door between the garage and home is fire rated and has a working door closer.
> Use a moisture meter to detect moisture within or behind the drywall.
> Operate all electrical switches to see if they are working.
> Check a sampling of (or all) electrical outlets for correct polarity, and all outlets within 5 feet of water sources (and in the garage or outdoors) for ground-fault protection.
> Open the breaker box, checking for proper wiring and no double-tapping of individual breakers. Note whether the breaker box in Federal Pacific or Zinsco, which lost their UL approval due to fire risk.
> Determine whether to recommend a secondary inspection for asbestos (such as for popcorn ceiling), mold (if moisture has been detected), sewer scoping (if the home might have clay sewer pipes), or a more thorough electrical or plumbing inspection based on observations made by the inspector.
> Look for foundation problems.
> Check all windows and doors for operability and for missing or damaged screens.
That’s just the beginning! Your agent can recommended a trusted inspector.
Regulation of Inspectors Nixed by Sunrise Review
Home inspectors are the last remaining professional in the real estate transaction process who is not regulated by the State of Colorado. I have long recommended that they be regulated.
Typically, home inspectors are given the lockbox code to enter a home, since the buyer’s real estate agent may not be there to provide access. That alone should justify the regulation, including criminal background check, of inspectors by the Division of Real Estate.
However, Colorado will remain one of the few states that doesn’t register or regulate home inspectors, based on a “sunrise review” by the Colorado Office of Policy, Research & Regulatory Reform.