Why Homebuyers Should Never Waive the Home Inspection

The Importance of Home Inspections for Home BuyersWhen you're buying a house, it's important to get a home inspection to make sure there aren't any major problems with the property. A home inspection can uncover serious issues that may not be visible to the naked eye, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs in the process.

By catching these problems early on, you can save yourself from expensive repairs down the road. So if you're in the market for a new home, and especially if you’ve begun researching mortgage options, it’s time to learn about the ins and outs of the home inspection process.

What is a Home Inspection, and Why Do You Need One?

A home inspection is an important step in the home buying process in which a trained professional goes over virtually every inch of a given home. It can uncover serious problems with a property that might not be visible to the naked eye.

When buying a home, one of the most common contingencies included in the buyer's offer letter is the home inspection. This home inspection contingency lets the buyer back out without consequences if the home has more problems than the buyer is willing to take on. In a hot sellers' market, buyers may be tempted to waive this contingency so that their offer looks better to the seller, but this is a risky move, and most experts don't recommend it.

What are the Benefits of Getting a Home Inspection?

There are several benefits of getting a home inspection before you buy a house, including: 

  • Getting a professional recommendation on how to deal with any problems, as the inspector will include these on the inspection report.
  • Getting insight into the expected lifespan of big-ticket items like the roof.
  • Finding out about problems not visible on a casual (or even nosy) walkthrough of the home.
  • If the home inspection reveals any problems with the property, but you still plan to purchase the home, you may be able to negotiate a lower price with the seller.
  • Even sellers can benefit from a pre-listing home inspection; by finding out about the problems before listing the home, they can take steps to mitigate them before a buyer sees them and backs out.

How Do You Prepare for Your Home Inspection?

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your home inspection: 

  • Start by reading your contract carefully so that you understand what is and isn't covered in the inspection. Some potential problems require specialized inspectors to conduct additional inspections, such as if asbestos may be a concern in an older home. Ask your agent if they'd recommend additional inspections based on their knowledge of homes in the area.
  • If you're a seller getting a pre-listing inspection, gather any documentation that you have on the property, such as past inspections or repair records.
  • Confirm with the seller or seller's agent that all utilities are turned on and that the home is clean and free of clutter.

What Should You Do If The Home Inspection Finds Problems?

If there are any problems found during the inspection (and there are usually at least a few), you will need to decide how to proceed. Some issues noted on the report may be so minor that you don't consider them a concern. For bigger problems, you may be able to negotiate a lower price with the seller or ask them to make repairs. But most importantly, if the contract's home inspection contingency clauses are not met during the inspection process, you can back out of the purchase.

Note that homes don't "pass" or "fail" an inspection. The inspection gives the buyer a full report on the condition of various aspects of the home, which they can then act on if they choose.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost, and Is It Worth It?

Home inspection costs can vary depending on the size and age of the house, but they typically range from $300 to $500. In the end, a home inspection is absolutely worth the expense because it can save you from buying a "lemon" or facing expensive repairs down the road. What are a few hundred dollars now compared to spending a few thousand dollars later?

Home Inspections Provide Home(buying) Security

By getting a home inspection, you can uncover any potential problems with the house before closing on the sale and avoid responsibility for fixing them. This way, you can make the home improvements that you want to make rather than the ones you're required to make. Home inspections can provide peace of mind during the buying process and potentially save you thousands of dollars, so if you’re preparing to buy a home, be sure to schedule your inspection appointment as soon as possible.

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