You found your dream home - a lovely turn of the century home lush with trees on the largest lot in the neighborhood. It took some work, but you won out over the other buyer competition, which is no small feat in this competitive market.  Your lender says you are a "shoe in" for the financing you need, which gives you great comfort. But then the inspection report comes in.  

You hear things like "Radon is measuring higher than the EPA recommendations".  You read on and mutter to yourself, that the fireplace did look pretty old and dusty and could use a service maintenance visit. And why is the seller providing you with a "Lead-based Paint Disclosure"?  Then you come to the sewer scope report, which says there are some blockages about 10' from the home. You may feel overwhelmed and not sure which items to ask for help from the seller. Here is the inside scoop to help you address some issues we are asked about during the transaction, especially during home inspection phase in Colorado: 

  • Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and invisible gas, produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water.  Exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. According to the Colorado State Radon website about 50% of Colorado homes have radon levels that are higher than the EPA recommends.The EPA recommends that you take action to reduce your home's indoor radon levels if radon test result is 4 pCi/L or higher. A mitigation system is easily installed for about $1,000 and is designed to reduce radon concentrations in the indoor air of a building. It is perfectly justifiable for buyers to ask a seller for help to pay for all or half of the radon mitigation system installation. This is not a reason to walk away from the transaction!
  • Lead-based Paint - lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. Homes built after to 1978 in the US are not allowed to contain lead based paint. In order to deal with any issues around lead in older homes, the Federal law requires all sellers to complete  a "Lead Based Paint Disclosure" form, revealing if the seller has knowledge of any lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards present in the housing or if any reports on lead-based paint exist for the home. This must be done before a prospective buyer is obligated under a contract to purchase the home and then allow the buyer a 10-day period to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead paint hazards. Parties may mutually agree, in writing, to lengthen or shorten the time for inspection. Homebuyers may waive this inspection opportunity (and many do if the home has been repainted, for example). The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created a series of steps for home owners to follow if you still want to stay in a home with the presence of lead based paint. 
  • Sewer Blockages - these can be fairly common among older homes with old pipe materials, like clay. After time, tree roots grow into the clay pipes and create blocks.  If it is a really old home with ancient pipes,  then you may have serious problems that are a result of poor plumbing material like Orangeburg pipes.  Nowadays newer homes are built with PVC pipes and blockages are much less common as long as the home owners are using their plumbing systems with care. Depending on the severity of the blockage during inspection, you may consider asking the seller to help pay for the fix, which may be as small as a few hundred dollars for full rooter job, or several thousands of dollars for a pipe replacement project.  The key to ask yourself is how old are the pipes and will I keep running into this issue over and over again.

There are several items that can come up during inspection, even on newer homes, but don't be alarmed. Homes are complex creatures filled with many systems in place to keep you comfortable. No home is perfect, and it is just matter of working with your agent to ensure you feel good about asking the sellers to make certain repairs or to credit you at closing for such repairs. There may even be some repairs that you can handle yourself in the spirit of good will towards the seller.   A good inspector, along with your real estate agent, will help you understand what to worry about and what is common place.  See below for a few links to my favorite home inspectors, who serve the greater Denver area. 

If you would like to see housing data for Boulder County, there are plenty of statistics to check out in such as "Days on Market", "Total Inventory" and "Newly Listed Homes". We track all these market statistics for Single Family Homes (SFH) for most of neighboring towns on a monthly basis, including Louisville, Erie, Lafayette and Superior. Check out latest market statistics here.  At Louisville Realty Associates, we have the experience, energy and depth of knowledge to help you list your home for the best price. You can reach me anytime at

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