Homes inspections and inspectors and what you need to know about mountain properties
When you are buying a home there is there is the inspection process. It is important to know the inspection process as well as the extra inspections you may need. It is also important to understand what an inspection is. A home inspection is a non-destructive, non-invasive opinion of a home in a snapshot in time. Not unlike an appraisal which is the value at a certain snapshot in time. Inspectors don't worry about the cosmetic appearances. They also usually don't point out code violations because they are not code inspectors. One reason or this is codes change throughout time. When something was built it could have very well been fine and dandy but now it is not up to code but it still perfectly safe. They also don't pass or fail a property. They supply you with a report and you decide what to do from there.
Once you get the report (that needs to be received and responded to by inspection objection deadline) you need to decide what you want to do. You could ask the seller to fix everything on the report, you could ask them to fix nothing, you could split the cost, you could fix just a couple things or you could do something else completely different. Since this is the place in the transaction that most deals fall through, it is important to be creative and find a solution to do what will make all parties happy.
There are a good deal of inspections you should do up here in the mountains. There is the basic kind of home inspection. All inspectors conduct their inspections differently. Although they basically look for the same things. There are then extra inspections you should also consider. The basic inspection usually includes these 5 important areas.
- The Roof Inspection: This one is pretty self explanatory. Obviously up here in the mountains there are times that a roof inspection can't be done. This may include the roof being too snowy. I have seen home inspectors that won't go on the roof because it is too dangerous...and rightfully so! They may refer you to a licensed roof guy.
- Structure: Is the home you are about to buy sliding down the mountain? Well your inspector may be able to determine that. Are there any other structural issues leave evidence as well. Your home inspector will investigate and then probably refer you to a structural engineer if they feel it necessary.
- Electrical: The electrical is a pretty big deal when buying a home. Your inspector should see what kind of wire was used, see if the main panel is grounded and make sure there have been no manufactures recalls. If they find something "fishy" they will refer you to a licensed electrical inspector.
- Plumbing: Your home inspector should go into the crawl space and check the visible plumbing down below. He should check under your sinks and the seals around your toilets. They should make sure your faucets work and don't leak.
- Mechanical: There are many devices in your home that make it livable and comfortable. You have your furnace, hot water heater, pumps and many other things. Your inspector should make sure things are functional.
Here is a list of most of the common inspections done in the mountains. Keep in mind your home may not need certain inspections. For example if you don't have a well, I don't think any broker would recommend a well test. No fire place? You can speak to your home inspector about what extra inspections they recommend. Then you probably wouldn't have a chimney inspection. Anyway enough common sense, here is the list:
- Home Inspection: A home inspection is to determine the condition of the home on the day of the inspection Again a snapshot in time. Major areas of the inspection should be structural, mechanical, plumbing,roofing and electrical issues. The inspector should consider items like safety,health or fire hazards are of particular concern. This is an inspection that should be done on all homes.
- Radon gas: Radon test is a test that most home inspectors are qualified to do. You want to ask your inspector if they are qualified. Radon tests are another test that should be done on all purchases. Radon is a colorless, odorless byproduct from the deterioration of Radium, a natural byproduct of Uranium. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Radon gas is prominent in Colorado.
- Well test: Will test the well pump and can determine the flow rate, capacity and recovery rate for a well. In other words the health of your well below the ground. This test should also include some sort of equipment inspection to make sure it functioning properly on the day of the well inspection. This test should be done on all homes with domestic wells.
- Water potability: This is an add on to your well test to determine the presence of any heavy metals or bacterial contamination. Suggested for all homes with a private domestic well. Suggested for all private domestic wells.
- Septic System:The septic test is designed to determine the condition of the septic system and associated leach field. Suggested for all homes with a septic system. Some counties in Colorado even require this for all home sales.
- Lateral Septic/Sewer Line: Video camera scoping of the lateral septic or sewer line from the house to the termination point. Designed to determine if there are problems in the line, such a sinking, breakage, or obstructions due to waste or tree roots. This test is usually suggested for all homes, particularly brand new homes and those over 10 years old.
- Mold/Mildew: Designed to determine the presence and type of mold or mildew. found during the Home Inspection.
- Chimneys: Designed to determine the condition of a fireplace and chimney. Level 1 is cleaning and inspecting; Level 2 is Level 1 plus camera scoping of flue. Suggested yearly (Level <1).
- Methamphetamine: This test is to determine the presence of the residue from the use or manufacture of methamphetamine. Suggested for foreclosures and homes that have been rentals.
- Lead paint: Designed to determine the presence of lead paint in the home. Suggested for homes permitted prior to 1978.
- Asbestos: Designed to determine the presence of asbestos in the heating/cooling system (boilers, steam pipes and furnace ducts), insulation (usually vermiculite), ceiling tiles, siding and possibly floor tiles. Suggested for home built prior to 1980.
- Wood Destroying Organisms: Examination to determine the presence of such organisms as carpenter ants, carpenter bees, termites,dry rot and wood beetles. Suggested if evidence of organisms exist
There are other inspections that can be done as well. Such as furnace and hot tubs or pools. Basically if it is something that is important to you and it's in the home you can have it inspected and I recommend you do. If it is deal breaker if the hot tub isn't functioning, you may want inspect it.
Please keep in mind this is not advice. You should consult your own Real Estate Broker, attorney, home inspector or contractor. This is just the views of an Evergreen Realtor. Take it for what it's worth. I am not responsible for how you use the information you read here. It is only to be used as a guideline about what to expect when you do a home inspection.