Home inspection for mountain homes:
There is a home inspection process when you buy any home but the process can seem even more cumbersome for mountain homes and real estate. In mountain homes there are much more moving parts. There is also a bit more wear and tear on mountain homes that need to be inspected in more detail than other homes. Since there are more moving parts and more issues that might arise it is important for home buyers in the Denver Foothills to know the types of "extra" inspections they may want to have.
What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is a non-destructive, non-invasive assessment of a home buy a licensed individual that looks for issues on the surface and a little in depth. A home inspector is trained to find symptoms of a larger problem in a home. They are not there to find hidden issues or code violations that were OK at the time the home was built (One reason or this is codes change throughout time). It is also important to note home inspectors don't have x-ray vision and don't tear out walls to find hidden defects. They might notice some water damage on a wall that wasn't pointed out during the seller property disclosure and recommend a professional in that field to come out and take a more detailed look at the issue. They also don't pass or fail a property. They supply you with a report and their job is to educate the buyer on the condition of the property and the buyer can make the choice at that point if the property is worth continuing with the contract and closing on the property.
The inspection report and what to do with it
The buyer needs to receive the report prior to inspection objection deadline, make sure your inspector is aware of this very important date. This includes all inspection reports including Radon and well inspections unless agreed to by the buyers and sellers. At this point the buyer needs to decide what you want to do. At this point the buyer can ask the seller to repair everything on the report, you could ask them to repair nothing, you could split the cost between buyer and seller, the buyer could repair just a couple things or the buyer can ask to escrow funds to repair things later (be careful with this one be sure to consult an attorney, Realtor and your lender before agreeing to this one). This time in the contract is very fragile. It is another time to sit at the negotiating table. This is why when you are negotiating the original offer you want to be as nice as possible. If one party is already bea up from the original offer they may not want to give in on inspection objections. This is where most deals fall apart.
What should be inspected on mountain properties?
- The Electrical System: The electrical system is an important thing to look at in mountain homes. The inspector will look at the wiring to be sure the proper load and amps are supplying the home. They will make sure it is safe. Many people are freaked out by electricity (rightfully so) it can cause fires and other health hazards so make sure your inspector spends a lot of time on this part of the inspection.
- The Structure of your new home: This one can be a little more tricky. This is where they look and any cracks or uneven parts of the walls or foundation. They won't rip up basement carpet or anything but if they something other than normal settling cracks they will most likely recommend an engineer come in and give a second opinion. Foundation issues should be taken very seriously and should not be brushed off.
- Plumbing and Pipes: A home inspector will look at all exposed piping and determine the age, type and durability of pipes. They should also look at the radiant floor plumbing (if the home has it) and determine there are no leaks and the plumbing is solid.
- Mechanicals like furnace, water heater, Softner and other stuff: A home inspector should check the serial numbers on all mechanical equipment to determine age and confirm there are no factory recalls on the product. They should also confirm they work and function properly and give an estimate on the expected life of the product. Such as if it is new or at the end of its recommended life.
- Roof Inspections: A roof inspection is just that, an inspection of the roof and the condition of the shingles, flashing and downspouts. Homes in the mountains may have either times or other reasons a roof inspection is not possible to be done by a home inspector. One would be weather. Another reason is many homes up here have a steep pitch for snow load reasons. A home inspector is not a roofer and they will not put themselves in a dangerous situation to inspect a roof. They will observe in a safe way and then perhaps tell you to get a roofing professional out to inspect more detailed.
What type of home inspections should mountain homes have?
This is a list of the most common inspections done on homes in the mountains and Denver Foothills...
- Well Flow test and potability test: A well test should be done on any home with a well. A buyer needs to check for the flow rate, recovery rate and make sure there aren't any little critters swimming in the water. Up here in the Denver Foothills and the mountains most wells are very deep. They are usually between 600-1200' deep. This usually makes the water very clean and drinkable but sometimes wells get bacteria and other things in it. on rare occasions there can even be Radon in the drinking water. That is not very common even if your home tests positive for high levels of Radon your well most likely will be OK. You need to discuss this with your well testing company and your Realtor.
- Home Inspection: A buyer starts with a home inspection and the rest of these inspections are usually recommended by the inspector. Since every inspection costs money that is why it is usually a good idea to let your home inspector determine what other inspections are needed (except well, septic, and radon those are inspections most Realtors will always tell you to get)
- Chimneys, wood burning stoves and fireplaces: Most people in the Denver Foothills use their fireplace a lot. Most chimneys have a lot of hours of use and should always be looked at by your inspector and cleaned before your start a fire in your new home.
- Lateral septic/sewer line: Any home over 10 years old should have a sewer scope done on it the see if there are any obstruction such as plants or roots or collapsed line in the system. The last thing a new home buyer wants is a backed up sewer or septic system.
- Radon gas: Most home inspectors have the ability and licence to test for Radon. It is only a little extra and is recommended to do up here in the mountains. It is a colorless and odorless gas that the EPA has determined causes health problems. Keep in mind the testing box needs to be left in the house for about 3 days for an accurate reading so make sure your home inspector knows your inspection objection deadline and drops the box 3 days before the inspection so he can pick it back up on the day of inspection and get the results in time for objection.
- Water potability (drinkability): This is an inspection that should be done. It is to make sure your well water can be consumed by humans.
- Septic system and tank: The septic test is designed to determine the condition of the septic system and associated leach field. A septic system is like anything mechanical. It can fail or the leach field can collapse. Most counties in Colorado even require this for all home sales.
- Mold/Mildew: Designed to determine the presence and type of mold or mildew. Although not as big of a problem in the mountains as it is in more humid climates mold and mildew can grow up her in the mountains just like anywhere.
- Methamphetamine: Smoke it if ya got it! It's a shame that this test even needs to be done. It is turning up in homes of all values. Meth isn't just a low income drug now..It is across all social and economical realms.
- Wood destroying critters... ewww you got bugs!: There are critters in the mountains but not as many as some areas but if you see evidence of them don't hesitate to get an exterminator out there to look deeper.
- Lead paint: Don't eat the paint kids! 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.
THIS IS NO LEGAL OR REAL ESTATE ADVICE. You should ALWAYS consult your own Real Estate Broker, attorney, home inspector or contractor.