If you haven’t already heard, all signs are pointing towards another “robust” real estate market this spring! If you are thinking about buying a home, you may be wondering if you really need an inspection. After all, in areas with low inventory, buyers are competing for homes and indicating the inspection be waived left and right. As a buyer, you may be looking at a newer home and are wondering if you need to go to the time and expense of having the home inspected. However, I always recommend potential buyers get a home inspection before signing on the dotted line.
If you are in a highly-competitive market, one option is to get a pre-inspection before the offer is written instead of putting an inspection contingency in the offer to purchase. With a pre-inspection the buyer can learn all the possible fixes the property needs ahead of time and can decide whether they want to move forward with an offer or not. The benefit to this is the buyer can then waive that requirement in order to close the transaction, which is more attractive to sellers. The challenge is that the buyer needs to pay for the pre-inspection, yet there is no guarantee that the seller will accept their offer which could be a several-hundred dollar expense. Additionally, the buyer may decide not to move forward with the offer in the event there are too many fixes that would need to be negotiated – fixes that other buyers may choose to overlook.
If you are looking at a newer property, it may be tempting to save that inspection money, but even brand-new homes can have problems that would only be found during an inspection. For example, seals on windows can break as the house is settling, bug infestations, and even incorrectly-installed siding are issues that can spell big trouble down the line if the builder doesn’t get them fixed right away.
Additionally, some lenders require an inspection or for certain building parameters to be met before they will allow a loan to be taken on the property. This is especially true for government lenders such as FHA.
Even if a home is being sold “as is”, it is worthwhile to have an inspection done so you can get an idea of what it would cost to do the needed renovations. A buyer may think that damage is cosmetic only but after the purchase when the renovations begin, that cosmetic damage can turn into a structural nightmare when walls are torn down and contractors begin taking a closer look at things like water damage, pest damage, and incorrectly-installed plumbing and wiring.
Having an inspection gives you the opportunity to get to know the bones of the home and discover the minor or major issues of the property – important information for any future homeowner. There isn’t a home out there that is perfect – but as the buyer you owe it to yourself to choose how imperfect of a home you want to live in. For more information, give me a call at 425.681.7838.