In addition to the home and the other physical “improvements” on the property (e.g., garages, outbuildings, or fences), you need to consider the land and the vegetation that you are buying as well. In urban subdivisions, you should try to be sure that trees and plants are in good shape. Removing a mature oak or cottonwood that has died could cost several thousand dollars, while replacing midsize trees and shrubs could cost hundreds. On larger rural and mountain properties, you should look for dump sites that could contain hazardous substances or for mine shafts that could create safety and liability
A4HB Homebuyer's Blog
Septic systems are as important as wells and they too can be very expensive to repair or replace. A septic inspection should tell you whether the system is the appropriate size for the home, whether the tank and other components seem to be in good condition, and whether the system seems to be functioning properly. The answers to the first two questions should be relatively straightforward, though there are components of the system that simply are not accessible to any inspector. It can be much more difficult to tell whether a system is functioning properly unless the malfunction is serious.
Stated simply, you should not consider purchasing a home that is dependent on a private water well without paying a professional to test the productivity of the well. The “livability” and the resale value of the home are absolutely dependent on an adequate water supply. Re-drilling a well, or otherwise improving well productivity, can be a very expensive proposition. Well tests are a routine part of the purchase process in mountain and rural areas. Ideally, a well test should provide information on the storage capacity of the well, how rapidly water flows into the well once it is drained, and
Soils with high concentrations of expansive clay are common in many parts of the Boulder County and Denver Metro real estate markets. When wet, the clay in these soils can swell to several times their normal volume, creating forces that can easily lift the concrete slabs in driveways and basement floors several inches. In extreme cases, these forces can result in extensive damage to foundations and structures, pushing a foundation wall inward a foot or more. Builders are now required to test for expansive soils and a wide range of construction practices are used to mitigate the potential effects of
Pest inspections are routine in many states, but they are not in our market. You will hear that we don’t have termites in Colorado, but that is not the case. Primarily because of the dry conditions in the region, termite infestations do not spread easily through neighborhoods, but there are homes with serious termite problems. We also have other pests such as carpenter ants. Most people rely on their general inspector to flag potential problems and then follow up with a professional pest inspection. However, since pest control companies will do inspections for little or no money, there is no
It is important to know that the utility costs for the home are not excessive. In our area, for example, electric heat is much more expensive than gas. Consequently, a home with electric heat may be more difficult to sell. Generally, it is easy to obtain objective information on these costs by calling the local utility company and giving them the address of the home you are interested in. Keep in mind, however, that utility costs can vary dramatically depending on living habits. Cautious buyers may want to obtain information on several similar homes in the same neighborhood to get
Homes with extensive additions, remodels and upgrades often stand out from their peers as potential good buys, but they also pose a potential risk to the home buyer. A finished basement may look great, but if the homeowner or handyman built the walls like they do in most other areas of the country, the expansive soils we have in this area could cause extensive damage to the home. If they did the wiring improperly, you could be electrocuted or the house could burn. A good inspector should be able to identify most hazards that the remodeling owner has built into
Using a professional home inspector is important. Good home inspectors not only know a great deal about how houses are built and how they function, but they understand how houses age and sustain damage over time. They are familiar with the impact of water and soils on foundations and siding. They have seen how furnaces are damaged by leaking humidifiers, air conditioners, and flues. And they have experience with the often bizarre, and occasionally dangerous, things that homeowners do in the process of repairing, upgrading and remodeling their homes. There is nothing wrong with having your uncle-the-contractor take a look
A systematic physical inspection of the home is a routine aspect of the home buying process in our market. The right to this inspection is outlined in Section 10 of the standard Colorado purchase contract and it is rarely waived. Inspections can be performed by the home buyer or by anyone the home buyer selects, but generally the inspection is performed by a professional home inspector hired by the home buyer.