Dick Palmer, Your Englewood Colorado Realtor!



Looking for the right house, condominium, or other type of residential property can be a difficult process for those who are not experienced in all of the various technical aspects involved. Most purchasers have to make a number of decisions which are both emotional and technical in nature and the best and easiest way to complete a successful purchase is with the help of a real estate licensee who has the training and experience necessary. There are many things for prospective purchasers to observe and consider when looking at houses, condominiums, or other residential property. An outline of such items is presented below:

Things to consider on the exterior of the property

  1. Siding: Look for cracks, loose pieces, lifting, or warping.
  2. Paint: Look for peeling, chipping, blistering, stains, and any indication of damage as a result of water.
  3. Foundation and exterior surfaces: Check for cracks and holes, areas not level or uneven, loose or missing stucco or mortar.
  4. Porch or entrance area: Examine steps, handrails, posts, and look for loose or unsafe features.
  5. Roof: Look for worn or bald spots, any missing shingles or tiles; determine age and if any warranty is still in effect.
  6. Chimney: Look for tilting, cracks, and any missing bricks.
  7. Gutters and downspouts: Check for signs of leaks, rusting, and condition of joints.
  8. Windows and screens: Look for broken glass or screens, check for proper caulking.
  9. Walls and fences: Look for holes and any missing fencing or rotted posts.
  10. Driveways and sidewalks: Check surface condition and look for holes or cracks; Check for levelness.
  11. Proper drainage: Water from rain should flow away from property. Check condition of any wells or septic tanks.
  12. Lot and landscaping: Locate property lines and determine approximate area; check condition of grass, shrubbery and plants, and trees. Check root condition of especially large trees close to any buildings.

Things to consider on the interior of the property

  1. General plan: The traffic pattern and layout of rooms is important. Observe the general condition with respect to maintenance and repair.
  2. Living/dining/family room areas: Size and design should be large enough for particular requirements and conveniently located. Any fireplace should have a damper that works and a clean chimney.
  3. Bedrooms: Number should be adequate for present and future uses, with each having an outside window, proper closet space and entry off a hallway.
  4. Bathrooms: An adequate number of bathrooms is very important and every floor should have a bathroom facility. Check for cracks in tiles, signs of leaks, how long it takes to get hot water, and proper ventilation.
  5. Kitchen: Check appliances such as stove, refrigerator, disposal, dishwasher, and microwave for age, and inquire about present age, condition, and any warranties in effect. Check amount of shelf and counter space, electrical outlets, and storage areas. If a separate breakfast room is not available there should be adequate space for a kitchen eating area.
  6. Walls and ceilings: Look for major cracks, loose or falling plaster, and any signs of leaks or stains.
  7. Windows and doors: Check to see that windows and doors have adequate locks and open and close properly.
  8. Floors: Walk and jump lightly on floors to determine any movement; check for levelness or bowing.
  9. Stairs: Check for any loose treads or handrails.
  10. Basement: If applicable, basement area should be checked for signs of water leaking, dampness, flooding, dry-rot, termites, and for adequate lighting.
  11. Attic: If applicable, the attic should be checked for signs of leaks and any rodent or insect infestation, and if insulated, check type and quantity.
  12. Plumbing system: Check type of water pipes and sewer lines, look for rusting or leaking; turn on faucets to test water pressure; look for clogged or sluggish drains or dripping faucets, and check for adequate laundry facilities.
  13. Electrical system: Check load center and observe if there are fuses or circuit breakers, check age and look for signs of wear or exposed wires.
  14. Heating system: Check the type of heating system such as warm air, hot water, or electrical, and determine age and condition.
  15. Hot water heater: Check for signs of leaking or rusting. Determine capacity and recovery rate, age and condition.
  16. Air conditioning/cooling: If applicable, check type of air conditioning or cooling system, age and condition.


Real Estate Brokers have long been aware that a common problem with respect to the sale of homes has to do with the inoperability or malfunction of certain items and appliances after the purchaser moves into the property.

To alleviate this problem, a number of firms have recently been organized which provide home warranty insurance programs for the seller and buyer with respect to repairs that may be necessary to the plumbing, to electrical and heating systems, and to common appliances such as a dishwasher, range, oven, garbage disposal, and exhaust fan.

Many brokers claim that the advertising and provision of such protection in connection with the listing are excellent selling tools. Costs, fees, and the degree of protection vary, but in general the arrangement for such warranty is made at the time the listing is obtained, and the seller usually pays for the cost of the policy.

Commonly, such policies provide labor, parts, and materials to repair or replace, as necessary, the following:

Electrical systems: Main service panels, all subpanels, all wall receptacles, light switches, and all outside receptacles attached to the main structure.

Built-in appliances

Garbage disposal: Disposal motor, motor shaft bearing, disposal blades, electrical connection, or complete disposal. The repair of disposal is for normal usage. Breakage by foreign object or extreme misuse is not covered under this warranty.

Dishwasher: Gasket leaks, timer, motor and pump, impeller and sprayer unit, dryer element, electrical connections, and safety limit switches. Excluded are door latches and hinges.

Surface range (gas-fired): Gas controls, burners, orifices, gas valves, gas cocks, flex line, pilot, and pilot lines.

Surface range (electric): Burner switches, burner elements, and burner wiring harness.

Oven (gas): Burners, orifices, thermostat control unit, gas safety valve, pilot, pilot lines, and thermocouplings. Excluded are timers, glass oven doors, latches, and hinges.

Oven (electric): Elements (bake and broil), wiring, thermostat control unit, and bake and broil selector switches. Excluded are timers, glass oven doors, latches, and hinges.

Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fan: Motor, switches, and sockets.

Heating systems

Electrical and gas-fired: Wall furnaces electrical perimeter heating systems (excluding baseboard casing).

Floor furnace and forced air systems: Repair and replacement of the following: gas valves, gas lines, control valves, pilot generators, thermocouplings, pilots, cleaning and regulating of burners, blower limit controls, blower motors, blower belts, variable speed pulleys, vents, vent pipes, thermostat, and thermostat wiring.

Hot water and steam systems (gas or oil-fired): Repair or replacement of circular motors, expansion tanks, boilers, all control valves, pressure gauges, pressure switches, burners, thermostat, radiators, convertors, electrical heating units and wiring, fuel pumps, fuel lines, all ignition components necessary for the operation of the heating units. Excluded are all inaccessible radiant and steam lines in floors and interior walls.

Plumbing systems

Plumbing: Repair leaks and breaks in water lines on the interior of the house, including riser lines on the interior of the house and riser lines to plumbing fixtures. Excluded are all water lines on the exterior, sewer line waste lines, and main service lines.

Toilet tanks: Repair or replacement of all interior components of the water closet, tank bolts and washers, flushing mechanism and overflow tube, flapper valve and chain, ball cock, float arm, supply valve and line. Excluded are tank, tank lids, toilet seat, and bowls.

Hot water heater (gas-fired): Repair and replacement of the following: gas valve, line, thermocouple, pilot, cleaning and regulating of burners, thermostat heating control, pressure relief valve, vent pipes, and main water tank.

Hot water heater (electrical): Repair and replacement of the following: electrical heating element, heating control, valves, and tanks as necessary.

There are, of course, certain limitations, exclusions, and minimal charges in connection with repair cells, but in general such policies seem to be excellent protection for the seller and the buyer. They are gaining in popularity in the real estate industry.

To access a list of QUESTIONS, to ask your prospective METRO DENVER COLORADO Home Inspection Company, please click here