What to Know About Home Inspections
A home inspection is a key element you don't want to forgo whether you are buying or selling a home. Traditionally, a home inspection has been up to the buyer to have done but, more and more sellers are encouraged to take this step as well. It is important to note that with any of these inspections, the payment is due at the time of inspection, and depending on the inspector they generally accept cash, check, or credit card.
What is a home inspection?
Home inspection is when a licensed, trained inspector thoroughly inspects all aspects of the home. This includes the roof, foundations, electricity, plumbing, HVAC, etc.
Qualified Home Inspectors will be up to date on all the regional building codes and will point out any concerns or issues with the home.
A home inspection is highly recommended unless you are purchasing a home that is newly being built and you will be the first to occupy the home.
Usually, a home inspection is best completed within the first 7 days of the mutually accepted contract. While there is no set timeline requirement for a home inspection, the sooner the better. The earlier the home inspection is completed, the more time it allows for the buyer and seller to negotiate a resolution to any issues that arise from the inspection.
Depending on the inspector, the type of home, the location, and the size of the home will determine how much a home inspection will cost but it usually ranges between $250 - $500. Before hiring an inspector, make sure to find out what is included in their services. Many will include some or all of the inspections listed below but, it's best to verify what will be included or what you may have to pay additional for if it's not included.
What is Radon? Radon is a natural-occurring radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils, including granite in the Colorado Springs area. It typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your house through cracks and holes in the foundation. Your home then traps the radon inside, where it can build up and becomes more hazardous the higher the levels.
Most home inspectors are capable of testing for radon in conjunction with the regular home inspection, but this is often at an additional cost.
A radon test is highly recommended in the Colorado Springs area due to the proximity to the mountains which are made of granite.
The cost of a radon test is typically around $120, depending on the inspector. When hiring an inspector, it's best to question if they offer to bundle the radon test with the home inspection to save some money and schedule the radon test at the same time as the home inspection.
A mold inspection is an add-on to the home inspection and not a highly recommended inspection in Colorado Springs due to the dry climate. If you have any concerns about moisture, flooding, poor drainage, leaks, or busted pipes, a mold inspection is something you may consider.
The cost for a mold inspection will generally cost you around an additional $275 depending on the inspector.
Sewage Line/Septic Tank Inspections
Depending on the location of the home, there will either be a sewage line or a septic system. If the home is located in an urban area, it is likely a sewer system that serves the home.
Inspection of the sewer line is not required and not a necessity, but you want to consider the age of the home and mature trees located between the front of the home and the curb. While mature trees are an attractive feature of a home, they can be a nuisance because of their roots growing into the sewer lines below ground.
For septic, you need to consider the age of the septic tank and the most recent documented servicing. If the septic system is older and/or hasn't had any recent servicing, having it inspected would be highly recommended.
Ideally, scheduling the sewage line/septic tank inspections to line up with the home inspection is desirable but, not always possible. Depending on the company you hire will determine the cost of this inspection but, it usually runs around $120.
Not all home inspections include sewage line or septic tank inspections. If this type of inspection is not included in the home inspection, it is recommended that you hire a plumber to complete this inspection. When scheduling this type of inspection, it is important to note that not all inspectors or plumbing companies will inspect a septic tank.
Well Water Inspections
Not all homes are connected to municipal water, depending on the location of the home will usually determine if municipal water is the water source for a home or if it is connected to a well.
Due to municipal water being run through a utility company, there is no need to have the water inspected. Well water, on the other hand, should be considered for inspection.
Most inspectors do not offer well inspections, even as an add-on to the home inspection. Generally, the well inspection needs to be completed by an actual well company.
A well inspection can be pricey depending on the tests you want to be done as a part of the inspection and the inspector you hire. A well inspection can cost up to $400 at the most or as little as under $100.
Before deciding on having a well inspection and spending the extra money, consider the age of the equipment or visible condition of the well equipment. The well inspection is usually at the discretion of the homebuyer; however, some loans (USDA, FHA, etc.) may require a well test to be completed before closing.
Other Types of Inspections
While the types of inspections reviewed above are the most common inspections in Colorado Springs, they are not the only types of inspections. A quick review of additional types of inspections that may apply to you are as follows:
Termite Inspection will consist of an inspector looking for visible signs of a termite infestation in both the interior and exterior of the home. If a termite infestation is caught in the early stages, a solution to resolve the issue quickly can save time, money, and further damage.
Termite Inspections are not usually included in a home inspection but are often available to be bundled with the home inspection. The cost of a termite inspection varies in price anywhere from $50 up to $280, however, the average price is $100.
When a home appraisal is required for a loan, the appraiser is usually required to look for signs of termites and report back any damage that may already be done.
Asbestos Inspection would only be necessary on an older home built between 1930 - 1977 when asbestos was banned. If the material used in the older home is still in good condition and there are no plans to disturb the material, there is no need to have an asbestos inspection.
When checking a home for asbestos, there are only two approved methods of testing, Polarized Light Microscopy and Transmission Electron Microscopy. Suspected asbestos fibers are sent to be analyzed using these test methods.
The average cost for asbestos testing is $600 but can easily cost over $1500 for a more comprehensive inspection.
Foundation Inspection should be conducted by a licensed structural engineer. The inspector will walk around the exterior of the home as well as the interior to look for cracks, examine windows, doors, and vents to see how snugly they fit, examine support beams, concrete floors and walls to check for water damage, mold, and improper ventilation.
A foundation inspection usually costs between $200 - $400. When having a home inspection completed, most inspections will include the foundation being examined, but it is best to verify with the home inspector before hiring them.
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