Buying a home is likely one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. To make sure you don’t end up with an unexpected money pit, it’s essential to hire qualified and experienced home inspectors in Denver to thoroughly examine the property before you finalize the sale.
A home inspection allows you to make an informed decision about whether to move forward with the purchase, request repairs from the seller, or walk away if issues are deal breakers. While real estate agents can point out obvious defects, they can’t provide the same level of comprehensive, unbiased analysis as a trained home inspector.
This guide will walk you through the key steps for choosing the best home inspector in Denver for your needs. Follow this checklist and you’ll feel confident you’ve selected a pro who will identify any existing or potential problems with the home.
Research Home Inspector Candidates Thoroughly
The first step is gathering a list of promising home inspector options in the Denver area. Here are some ways to find reputable inspectors to consider:
- Ask your real estate agent for recommendations. Experienced agents likely have several trusted inspectors they regularly recommend to clients. These referrals are a great starting point.
- Check with family, friends or colleagues who have recently bought homes. Ask if they were satisfied with their home inspector and would recommend him or her. First-hand referrals are very valuable.
- Search online directories and read reviews. Look at sites like HomeAdvisor or Angie’s List to find local home inspectors. Be sure to read reviews from past clients.
- Look for membership in professional organizations. You want an inspector who belongs to professional groups like the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) or the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Membership indicates commitment to quality.
As you research, create a list of 3-5 inspectors you may want to interview and vet further.
Verify Licenses and Certifications
Any home inspector you hire should have the proper licenses and certifications for working in the Denver area. Here are the credentials to look for:
- Colorado home inspector license. Colorado requires all home inspectors in Denver to hold a current license through the Colorado Division of Real Estate. Check that the inspector’s license is active and valid.
- Additional certifications. Many inspectors have certifications through InterNACHI, ASHI or other organizations. Certifications indicate inspectors have received specialized training and meet standards.
- General liability insurance. Reputable inspectors will carry insurance to cover any damage they might cause during the inspection. Ask for proof of adequate coverage.
Don’t hesitate to ask about licenses, certifications and insurance proof. A qualified inspector will happily provide documentation.
Interview Potential Inspectors
Once you’ve identified several promising inspectors on paper, take the next step to interview them. Here are some key questions to ask during interviews:
- How long have you worked in the home inspection field? Look for an experienced inspector with at least 5-10 years of experience and 200+ inspections completed.
- Are you specifically trained to inspect Denver-area homes? Inspectors should have training and expertise related to local building codes, materials, environmental factors and other regional considerations.
- What does your inspection cover? At a minimum, the inspector should examine the home’s roof, exterior, structure, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, appliances, ventilation and more. Clearly define the scope.
- Do you provide a written report with photos? The inspection report is one of the most valuable deliverables. Make sure the inspector provides a detailed paper report with clear photos of any defects noted.
- What type of insurance do you carry? Ask about general liability coverage and any professional liability or errors and omissions insurance the inspector carries.
- What professional organizations do you belong to? High-quality inspectors will maintain membership and certifications with organizations like InterNACHI and ASHI.
- Can you provide references from past clients? Reputable inspectors should be able to easily provide great references. Follow up with these references as another check.
Ask plenty of questions and go with your gut – a good rapport with the inspector is crucial.
Compare Costs and Services
Once you have a shortlist of qualified home inspectors in Denver, compare factors like:
- Base inspection fee – Get quotes from each inspector. Average costs range from $300-$500+ depending on the size of the home.
- Optional add-ons – Some inspectors charge extra fees for things like checking pools, spas, screen enclosures or detached garages. Know any add-on costs.
- What’s included – Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting for the inspection fee. Some inspectors provide more value-adds than others.
- Years of experience – There’s often a correlation between an inspector’s fees and their depth of experience. It can be worth paying more for an extremely seasoned expert.
- Cancellation policies – Check policies if you had to cancel or reschedule the inspection due to a delay in closing. Look for flexibility.
- Payment terms – Most inspectors require payment at the time of service. Make sure the terms align with when you need to pay your real estate agent.
Consider both cost and value when making your decision. A more expensive inspector often provides greater peace of mind.
Check for Sample Reports
High-quality home inspectors provide comprehensive, detailed reports with photos of any issues found. Ask inspectors if they can provide a sample report so you can preview the level of detail.
Things to look for in a sample report:
- Overview summarizing the home’s overall condition – You want the big picture perspective on whether the inspector would recommend moving forward.
- Clear, specific details on issues or defects. – Vague, boilerplate language doesn’t cut it. You want to clearly understand potential problems.
- Thorough assessment of all areas – A good report covers all aspects of the property – roof, structure, electrical, appliances, plumbing, ventilation, etc.
- Professional formatting – The report should follow a logical, consistent format and be professional in appearance.
- Helpful photos – Pictures of any damages or defects are super helpful, especially if you can’t be onsite for the inspection.
If an inspector won’t provide a sample report, that may be a red flag. A detailed report is a core deliverable you’re paying for.
Ask About Timelines
During interviews, be sure to ask about the inspector’s schedule and overall timelines. Key questions include:
- How far in advance do you book inspections? You’ll want to get on the inspector’s calendar as soon as you have an offer accepted on the home. Some inspectors book up weeks in advance, especially during peak seasons.
- How long does the inspection take? On average, inspections take 2-3 hours for a typical single-family home. Get clarity on the full time commitment required.
- When will I receive the full report? Most inspectors aim to deliver reports within 24-48 hours. But make sure to get firm expectations. Waiting a week or more for the full analysis isn’t ideal.
- Can I attend the inspection? Being onsite during the inspection can be very helpful. Most inspectors allow buyers to accompany them during the process.
Getting answers to these timeline questions upfront ensures the inspection fits smoothly into your home buying schedule.
Don’t Make Your Decision Lightly
Selecting the right home inspector in a city like Denver takes time and diligence. You’ll be relying heavily on the inspector’s professional opinion when deciding whether to move forward with the biggest purchase of your life.
Follow these tips and use the checklist above to find a truly qualified home inspector you can trust to provide a comprehensive, unbiased assessment. Doing diligent research on the front end will give you immense peace of mind during the home buying process.
With an experienced, meticulous Denver home inspector on your side, you can proceed confidently with one of the most important investments of your lifetime. Use this guide to find the very best inspector for your needs.