The negotiations are complete, and you are finally under contract! The next step is the home inspection and it should be scheduled as soon as possible. Selecting a qualified inspector can be a daunting task. In Colorado, home inspectors aren’t required to be licensed by the state. It’s important to hire an experienced inspector who has professional certifications, such as ones from the American Society of Home Inspectors. A great place to start the search would be to ask your Realtor® for some names of qualified inspectors.
Why a home inspection?
Buying a home is a major purchase, and the last thing you want to happen during the first year is a big maintenance issue. A home inspector can not only discover maintenance issues but can give you an unbiased opinion of improvements that need to be made to the home.
The purpose of home inspection is to look for health and safety issues that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars to repair. Keep in mind, the inspector can only inspect what he or she can see and won’t be ripping up flooring or taking down drywall during the inspection. They are there to “nitpick” details of the home and provide you with as much information as they can about the history and current condition of major systems, structure, cosmetics, interior and appliances.
The inspection should normally take between 2 and 4 hours depending on the size of the home. You should plan on scheduling the inspection for a time you can be present. At the very least, it is advisable to show up toward the end of the inspection so you have an opportunity to see items of concern and have your questions answered by the inspector.
After the inspection
Once the inspection is complete and you have received the final inspection report, take the time to make a list of all items that concern you. Divide the list into two columns, deal breakers and items that would be nice to fix. The next step is to sit down with your Realtor® and come up with a game plan for the inspection objection document that will be delivered to the sellers. The inspection objection is the formal notice from the buyer that details what items you want repaired or replaced to continue with the contract. This needs to be submitted prior to the inspection objection deadline in the contract.
The sellers then have until the inspection resolution deadline in the contract to select what items, if any, to replace or repair. Based on the seller’s written response in the resolution, you have a choice to continue with the purchase or terminate the contract. The inspection resolution deadline is one of the few places where the contract automatically terminates (Section 10.3) unless an agreement is reached prior to the deadline.
What the inspection process isn’t
Most homes in Colorado are sold “as is” unless they are marketed with improvements and/or upgrades listed in the multiple listing service. Keep this in mind when entering the inspection phase of the purchase. If you are expecting this to be an opportunity to have everything fixed on the inspection report and have a like-new home, it probably won’t happen.
Most homes are priced according to the market and their condition. Having an experienced inspector and Realtor® in your corner will give you the best information and guidance for you to make an informed choice during the inspection process.