A Guide to the Defensible Space Inspection in Amador County

Defensible Space Inspections: What You Need To Know During Your Real Estate Transaction

If you are considering Buying or Selling here in Amador County, chances are a Defensible Space Inspection will be a part of your transaction. This guide delves into the steps of the defensible space inspection process, offering valuable insights for homeowners and potential buyers.

  1. What is Defensible Space?: The first step in ensuring a smooth residential sale in high fire risk areas is understanding the concept of defensible space. Cal Fire has defined Defensible Space simply: “Defensible space is the buffer between your structure and the surrounding area.” Ultimately Defensile space is your homes first line of defense against a wildfire. There are many reasons the Defensible Space around your home is important. In the event of a fire not only will proper Defensible Space slow, or even halt fire progress, it also keeps firefighters safe while they defend your home.
  1. Do I have to have a Defensible Space Inspection?:  California has stringent regulations in place to mitigate fire risks, but not every home is required to have a Defensible Space Inspection during the sales process. So how do you know if you will need one or not? Homes that are in a High or Very High fire zone are required to have a Defensible Space Inspection. How do you find out if your home is in one of these zones? You can do this by either checking Cal Fires “Fire Severity Zone Map” on their website, or check your Natural Hazard Disclosure Report. This report is generally ordered by your Real Estate Agent. If your home is in a High, or Very High Fire Zone you will need a Defensible Space Inspection.
  2. Steps and Cost of A Defensible Space Inspection: After confirming you need a Defensible Space Inspection the first step is to order it, the good news: this inspection is done for FREE by Cal Fire. You, or your Real Estate Agent can request an inspection on Cal Fires Website. After submitting a request for an inspection, a Cal Fire Inspector will contact you within a week or two to set up a date and time. At the time of the inspection a Cal Fire Inspector will meet your, or your Real Estate Agent at the property. The Inspector will walk the exterior of the home and take note of any areas that are not in compliance. Generally, the Inspector will go over their findings with whoever is onsite and explain what needs to be done. After the Inspection is complete the inspector will give a hard copy of the inspection report to you or your Agent to include in your transaction. The inspection itself only takes around 10-30 minutes depending on the property, quick and easy right?!
  3. What if the property is not in compliance?: Now you have the inspection and Cal Fire has noted some items to be addressed. This is where negotiations can come into play during your real estate transaction. It is totally negotiable as to who will take on addressing the items on the Defensible Space Inspection. This is addressed on a document called “Fire Hardening and Defensible Space Disclosure and Addendum” also referred to as a “FHDS” so make sure to review it fully and ask your agent if you have questions as to how this document is filled out.
  4. When should the Defensible Space Inspection be done?:  For my Sellers I always have the Defensible Space Inspection done before the home is listed, and I highly recommend you do the same. Here is why- The first reason is time. During the escrow process time is of the essence, what if Cal Fire is backed up with inspections and can’t get to your property for a week or two? Then it is possible the entire transaction is held up for what could have easily been done ahead of time. The next reason I recommend having it done before you list your property is so you can get negotiations out of the way at the time of the offer. If you have your Defensible Space Inspection done before listing, you can have it available for potential Buyers to review before they even make an offer. This way if there are any negotiations regarding the Defensible Space Inspection it can be handled early on, giving you one less thing to worry about. Or maybe you want to address some, or all of the items noted on the inspection ahead of time, making your property even more appealing to a potential Buyer. If you are a Buyer making an offer on a property and you aren’t sure if a Defensible Space Inspection has been done, just ask. Your Agent can find out for you, and if there hasn’t been one completed and you get into contract, ask your agent to make sure one is ordered ASAP.

Amador County Defensibe Space Inspections

Ultimately the requirement for a Defensible Space Inspection might seem confusing or intimidating at first, but it is here to keep us safe, and isn’t really as intimidating as it seems! I hope this guide gives you clarity on such an important step of your sales process and helps you feel more confident. If you’d like to read more about Defensible Space from Cal Fire you can visit their website here.

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