Rural vs. City Property Inspections in El Paso County

Rural vs. City Property Inspections

Home inspections in Colorado Springs differ from those in El Paso County’s rural areas. So if you’re buying or selling a house, it’s important to understand rural vs. city property inspections. 

Consider what additional inspections you’ll need when purchasing a rural property. For example, many country homes are not on public water and sewer. So, ask your home inspector about water testing and sewer scopes. 

Are home inspections required on a rural property in Colorado?

No state or federal requirements are set for property inspections in rural areas of El Paso County. However, an assessment is a wise investment if you are buying land. Homes in the country may have had work done without any permits. Plus, an inspection is your chance to discover what the seller may have missed on the disclosure. 


The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department works with city councils and county commissioners to regulate construction policies in municipal and unincorporated areas of El Paso County. Certain building codes only apply inside city limits, but others apply to the country. So, homeowners need to find out about regulations affecting their location. For example, the Land Development Code of El Paso County has eight different zones, such as agricultural or residential rural. Knowing your zoning district is essential to understand what you can do with the property.

There are several differences when it comes to rural vs. city property inspections. Certain municipal codes apply only inside of the city limits. For instance, the City Code of Colorado Springs has ordinances that set utility rates and regulate animals kept on the property. Likewise, the housing code lists minimum standards for occupancy. So, before purchasing a city home, you need an informed home inspector to make sure the house is up to code. 

Water Testing

Before purchasing a rural property, you need to know if there is sufficient potable water for you and your animals. Some rural homes have access to municipal water, while others don’t. So, you may need a well-water test to identify minerals and bacteria. Likewise, an inspector can check if the well has adequate water pressure. Lower flow may require investing in a holding tank or finding additional water sources. 

If you live in the city, however, the water quality lab at Colorado Springs Utilities monitors drinking water for safety and quality. Still, city homeowners may want to get their tap tested for any minerals or microbes that may leach in from the pipes. Water quality is essential whether you live in rural or urban areas.

Wastewater Systems

Many rural homes in El Paso County use septic tanks and are not connected to the city sewer. So, buyers want to know that all parts of the wastewater system function properly before buying the property, or they could be in for a nasty surprise. Septic tanks should be pumped every two to five years. A septic inspector can tell you how full the tank is, so you can ask the sellers to pump it before closing if need be. In addition, a sewer scope can check for tree roots and other issues from the house to the tank.

On city properties, the local municipality maintains the public sewer system. Still, homeowners are responsible for the upkeep of the main line on their property. So, it’s a good idea to have a sewer scope before buying so you know the condition of the main line out of the house since pipes can become broken, cracked, and misaligned due to tree roots, shifting soil, or the freeze-thaw cycle. 

Rural vs. City Property Inspections 

If you are buying a house in El Paso County, find an inspector with experience with rural vs. city property inspections. Our founder, Jim, has decades of experience as a contractor and home inspector in El Paso county. Schedule a rural property inspection today—call 719-491-1520.

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