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The Ultimate Guide to a Home Inspection Before Buying

Carrie Wells

When purchasing a home in Aspen — or any other location, for that matter — it is important to thoroughly understand the property's condition before finalizing the sale. One of these assessments is through a home inspection, as an expert inspector will provide important information about the property's structure, systems, and components. These details can help you make an informed decision about purchasing an Aspen luxury property. This guide further explains the home inspection process while providing tips to help you make the most of this vital part of the home-buying journey.

What is a home inspection?

When closing on a house, it’s essential to conduct a home inspection to ensure everything is up to standard, including smoke detectors and household appliances. Typically, during a home inspection, the buyer will go through the house with the inspector. On the other hand, the seller should not be present — they should plan to spend a few hours away from the home. If you are planning on having a home inspection, here is an overview of the process.

The home inspection vs. the appraisal: what’s the difference?

Appraisals and home inspections serve different purposes when buying or selling a home. An appraisal evaluates the value of a property and is conducted by a licensed appraiser. Appraisers typically inspect the property to assess its condition, size, location, and other factors affecting its value. They also analyze comparable properties in the area to determine the property’s market value. The appraisal is often required by a lender to ensure that the property's value is sufficient to secure the loan amount.

A home inspection evaluates the property's condition and is conducted by a certified home inspector. They assess the property's structure, systems, and components, such as the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, roof, foundation, and various other features. After the inspection, the home inspector provides a detailed report outlining any issues or potential problems needing to be addressed.

Is a home inspection required?

There are currently no laws in Colorado requiring a home inspection when purchasing a home. That said, home inspections are recommended before finalizing the purchase of a property, as they provide valuable information about the condition of a property. This information is helpful for negotiating further or for deciding if you even want to proceed with the purchase. If you are financing the home, some lenders require home inspections before approval.

Why do I need a home inspection before buying?

As a buyer, the home inspection determines if any issues with the house need to be addressed and could impact the home's value. One common example is expensive repairs or maintenance required to live in the house, which means investing more money aside from the listed price. A home inspection also can help detect any safety concerns, such as a faulty smoke detector, high levels of dangerous chemicals, or mold. The inspector will also alert you to any out-of-code additions or construction done by the previous owner. Lastly, walking through the inspection process can provide you with expert tips on how to maintain your future home and its systems.

About the inspection process

To begin the home inspection process, you must schedule an appointment with a local and certified home inspector. When the inspector arrives, they will perform exterior and interior inspections, as well as an attic and basement assessment. During the exterior examination, the inspector will look for any signs of damage or wear on the roof, gutters, siding, windows, and doors. In the interior inspection, the inspector will evaluate the walls, floors, ceilings, doors, and windows. They will also assess the condition of the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.

When applicable, attic and basement inspections entail evaluating the state of the attic and basement, including the insulation and ventilation. They will also check for any signs of water damage or pest infestation. Inspectors also will look at any appliances on the property, such as the refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher, to ensure they are working properly.

After completing the inspection, the home inspector will provide you with a detailed report outlining any issues or potential problems discovered with the property. This report includes photos, descriptions of each issue, and recommendations for addressing them. While a home inspection can identify many concerns, this does not mean all potential problems were detected, so buyers should do their due diligence in evaluating the property.

Choosing a home inspector

Although you can find a home inspector on your own, when working with an agent, they typically have a list of inspectors they trust and have worked with previously. If you find a home inspector, ensure they are insured and bonded. A home inspector bond is an agreement the inspector makes when becoming certified, essentially stating they will take financial responsibility for any damage due to unlawful or unethical behavior. Avoid companies offering repairs along with home inspections, as they might attempt to provide unnecessary recommendations.

Reading inspection reports

Although home inspection reports can seem overwhelming, you need to take time to review them and understand the property's condition thoroughly. First, check the summary, which provides a high-level overview of the inspector's findings. Next, scan the report for any significant issues or safety concerns, such as electrical or plumbing problems, foundation issues, or structural damage. These issues are especially critical since they must be addressed before purchasing the house.

There are a few areas of the report you should focus on when going through it. Pay attention to the home inspector's recommendations and review the photographs and diagrams illustrating the issues. You also need to understand what is not covered during a home inspection, such as cosmetic issues or items not readily accessible, such as areas behind walls or under floors. If you have questions about the report, contact the inspector for clarification, as they can provide additional information or explanation.

Finding a local Aspen realtor

If you are searching for a new home on the Aspen real estate market and want to team up with a pro, there's no better choice than Carrie Wells. Carrie is an Aspen luxury broker specializing in single-family homes, condominiums, and investment property in the Pitkin County area. Carrie’s solid reputation, knowledge, and experience set her apart from her competition. Contact Carrie Wells today to get started on your home-buying journey.


We offer the highest level of expertise and service with integrity. Carrie Wells is the leading real estate agent in Aspen and has helped hundreds of buyers find their dream home in Aspen and the surrounding areas, including Snowmass Village, Woody Creek, & Old Snowmass.