DENVER (CBS4) – With Denver homes selling nearly as soon as they hit the market, home inspectors are in high demand. But how do you know if your inspector is qualified to assess the safety of the home you want to buy?

4 On Your Side Suzanne McCarroll found really conscientious inspectors, but there are some out there who can look past a leaky furnace or a faulty electrical system and leave a homeowner in the dark.

Homes are selling at a record pace. That’s good news for homeowners — and it’s big business for home inspectors.

“The phone just keeps ringing, so it’s good,” home inspector Evan Hughes said.

Hughes is booked with inspections all across the Denver metro area. Realtors give him high marks for his attention to detail. But inspectors aren’t licensed by the state and there is concern that other inspectors are racing through homes to make money, ignoring problems that could be dangerous for prospective buyers.

Leaking windows allowed water to pour into Jill Bender’s new house. The water was flowing into her living room and her garage. She was worried about the health risks to her children. Mold was later found growing in her windowsills.

“Within the walls there was quite a bit as well,” Bender said.

Holes in the window frames that are supposed to be open were plugged and the inspector never noticed. There’s no mention of the problem in the report he filed.

“We had to have a roofing inspector come out, a window inspector come out,” Bender said.

Bender had to shell out thousands of dollars to fix the problem.

State Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, is part of a growing movement in Colorado pushing to require home inspectors to be licensed.

“That they’re credible, that they’re trustworthy, and that they really have some training and know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about,” Todd said.

Most inspectors say licensing is unnecessary.

“It’s not needed and burdensome to the inspection community and it’s going to be costly to the consumer,” an inspector said. “It’s not going to be free of charge.”

Hughes found a potential problem with the water pipes in a home. Now the buyer must decide if she wants to go ahead with the purchase. But a rushed or uninformed inspector may not have alerted her. That’s worrisome since home inspectors also review the electrical system of houses, they check the safety of furnaces, the foundation, and the roof.

A house may look stunning on the outside, but once potential buyers get in they could be stunned with problems they know nothing about.

Before hiring an inspector check with reputable realtors for references and make sure they belong and are in good standing with trade groups in the area.

Additional Resources

The following are reputable groups for consumers to check that a inspector is a member:

NAHI (National Association of Home Inspectors)
ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectiors)
InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors)