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Do I Really Need a Home Inspection?

If you are thinking about buying a home, you may be wondering if you really need an inspection. In areas that have very high demand and low inventory, some buyers are choosing to waive the home inspection so their offer is more appealing for home sellers. Especially in situations where the home buyer won’t be asking a home seller to fix any issues anyway, you may indeed be wondering if it is worth the time and expense to do one.

I always recommend that my buyer get a home inspection, even in a highly competitive market. If the inspector finds an issue with the home that may cost in the thousands and thousands of dollars to repair, I want my buyer to know that going into the purchase.

For listings that are likely to get multiple offers, one strategy is for the buyer to get a pre-inspection before the buyer makes an offer. Of course, there are pros and cons to this strategy. Virtually all inspections turn up issues – even in new homes. In a traditional offer situation, both parties have already gone through one set of negotiations to get the offer accepted by both parties before the inspection even takes place. Both have a vested interest in completing the sale, but with a pre-inspection, the buyer may be soured on a property before the offer has even been written and they are several hundred dollars out of pocket on every property they choose to do a pre-inspection on. The benefit of the pre-inspection is that once a buyer understands what they will need to fix down the road, they can make an offer without an inspection contingency. However, the seller may still choose another offer and all the buyers’ due diligence would have been for naught.

Some sellers in hot markets are doing a pre-inspection with the help of an inspector, and are choosing to get several items on the list fixed before putting the home on the market. They make the inspection and the record of improvements available for buyers in the hopes more buyers will make an offer if the need to get an inspection is off the table. Although this is an interesting solution to this problem, I have some concerns that I will share with you before considering purchasing a home with this option.

I even recommend getting an inspection for new homes! If you are buying new, it may be tempting to save that inspection, but even brand-new homes can have problems. For example, seals on windows can break as the house is settling, drainage issues, and even incorrectly-installed flashing around doors and windows are issues that can spell big trouble down the line if the builder doesn’t get them fixed.

If you are buying a home, getting an inspection lets you get to know the home and learn about the major and minor issues the property has before making the investment. No home is perfect, but having an inspection allows you to learn about how imperfect a home is before moving in.