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What are home inspections and why do they matter?

A Boulder company answers frequently asked questions about inspections conducted during the home-buying process.

COLORADO, USA — A house with 1,000 defects: Sounds like a nightmare for anyone purchasing a home.

But that's exactly what The House of Horrors is: an entire house, purposely built with defects.

Thankfully, it's not actually on the market. The house is part of InterNachi's hands-on training program for home inspectors.

InterNachi is short for International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. The Boulder-based company's House of Horrors shows inspectors common and uncommon defects they may find. 

"Inspectors can practice performing home inspections in the House of Horrors to advance their inspection knowledge and skills," said Moranda Evans, a spokesperson for the company.

Home inspections are an important part of the home-buying process, Evans said.

"Buying a home is typically the biggest investment you will ever make, so it's important to get a home inspection because the inspector should be able to discover and document defects that may or may not be obvious to you as a prospective buyer," Evans said.

The average home in metro Denver reached a record-breaking $555,482 in May, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors' June report, the latest available.

Meanwhile, 8,789 new listings hit the market, up 38.12 from May 2018, the report says.

"That’s an important number to note. It’s the highest end-of-month number of active listings since November 2013 when buyers had 9,352 choices," said Realtor Jill Schafer, chair of the DMAR Market Trends Committee.

An inspection is an important part of the home-buying process for people interested in purchasing one of those homes, Evans said.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions people have when it comes to home inspections, and InterNachi's responses to them.

(Editor's note: These responses have been edited for context and clarity.)

What is a home inspection?

InterNachi: A home inspection is a visual examination of the home's major structure, systems and components that are visible and safely accessible.  

Why do people need a home inspection?

InterNachi: The inspector should be able to discover and document defects that may or may not be obvious to you as a prospective buyer. Such defects can range from simple replacements or repairs, to severe damage or safety and health concerns. Many mortgage companies require an inspection

How much do home inspections typically cost and how long do they take?

InterNachi: The cost will vary based on the inspector, the local market, the geographic region, the scope of the inspection to be performed, and more. ... Depending on the home's age, size, and location, as well as the home inspector's own work protocols and ethic, your home inspection may take up to three hours.

Why should people hire a certified home inspector?

InterNachi: It is important to choose a home inspector who is qualified and holds a license or certification in the field. Many jurisdictions do not regulate home inspections, meaning that anyone could call themselves a home inspector. ... Contact your state by phone or online to find out whether they license home inspectors, and what qualifications they're required to have.  

Should someone be present for the home inspection?

InterNachi: You should attend the inspection, and you should reconsider hiring an inspector who doesn't allow this. You can learn a lot by following an inspector through the home.

What happens if problems are found?

InterNachi: Problems are noted within a home inspection report and a home inspector may give recommendations to fix the problem.  

> Click/tap here for more information from InterNachi.

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