It’s a tough market out there right now for buyers in Grand Junction and the entire Western Slope area. Homes for sale aren’t as plentiful. That means it’s actually a sellers’ market right now.  You’ll be in fierce competition with other buyers for the same homes. That also means buyers need be armed with as much information as possible when they plunge into buying a home. Especially once you get one under contract.

That’s why we decided to write a four-part series on home inspections.

Home inspections are a MUST when you buy a home. We really insist you get one. In fact, we provide a form and ask our buyers to acknowledge, in writing, that we urged them to have the prospective home inspected by a home inspector. It’s still your choice to decline but it’s not smart.

What Is A Home Inspection

It’s an inspection of the home you’re contracted to buy, conducted by a trained and certified home inspector. Yes, there are professionals out there who do this for a living.

They will investigate both the inside and outside of your home; looking for significant flaws, damage, or other potential problems you may not see with your own, starry eyes.

The inspector will check the siding, the roof, the basement, the attic, and all kinds of things in between. They’ll test your electrical outlets and check to see if the electrical box is wired right. Inspectors look for water stains and water damage and many, many other issues.

It’s usually a three or four-hour inspection and, at the end, the inspector will furnish you with a report detailing his/her findings.

What a Home Inspection Is NOT

A home inspection is NOT an appraisal. We’ll cover appraisals at another time.

It’s also NOT an approval or disapproval of the home itself.  And it’s not a guarantee that ALL problems with a home have been found. Why? Because inspectors can really tear apart a home that isn’t theirs. Even though you’ll wish they had.

Home inspections are NOT the definitive word on any of the issues that turn up in the report. That’s because inspectors are generalists. They’re not electricians, plumbers, HVAC experts, etc. In fact, most good inspectors recommend you have one of these experts inspect further when a trouble spot is found.

When To Order A Home Inspection

We recommend hiring the home inspection as soon as you go under contract and during what most states call the “due diligence period.” The honeymoon period. This is one of the few times you can back out of a deal without financial consequences. And a home inspection is one of the best tools you can have for making that decision.

In each market there are usually several inspectors to choose from. But ask your agent for their recommendations. Most experienced agents have worked with many in the past and know the good ones from the mediocre inspectors.

Why Get A Home Inspection?

Well, initially it’s pretty obvious. But really… don’t you WANT to know what could be wrong with a property BEFORE you buy it? These guys crawl in and out of so many homes they truly do know where to look and what to watch for. More than you would know. And more than any Realtor would know. Even us!

Are you going to look under the kitchen sink? Are you going to look in the attic? If you do what would you even be looking for? Do you know what evidence of rodent intrusion looks like? How about that electrical panel? Do you have equipment to detect moisture in the walls (or even think of this)?

What Does A Home Inspection Cost?

A typical home inspection costs from $300 to $500, depending on the region. Or even a bit more if you order a radon test (bet you didn’t think of that, either).

And usually our clients ask us, “Is it worth it?” Our answer is a resounding YES! Why would you risk NOT knowing about harmful mold in this house you NEVER lived in? Or that leak behind the wall, under the kitchen sink? Or the cross-grounded electrical box? The air conditioner that isn’t really cooling? The foundation cracks in a dark corner of the basement?

Ultimately, it’s your decision whether to get your home inspected. But we’re going to recommend you do – in writing.