If you have been searching for a home, then you know how unusual this real estate market is. We’re shocked- in the past 17 years in the Home Inspection business, we have never seen a market anything like this. Why? What is happening? Truly, it is an issue of supply and demand- there are far fewer homes on the market than ever before - and that means you have to be competitive - probably extremely competitive- to get a house these days.
Prevailing - having your offer accepted over the many others who might be clamoring for the same home - is tricky, and it usually involves making your offer stand out somehow. And these days one of the tools being used is to have no inspection contingency - in other words, waive your right to a home inspection on the home you are spending a huge amount of money on. Allow me to restate this: in order to make an offer more attractive, homebuyers are being asked to give up the opportunity to find out if anything is wrong with the home, and submit themselves to whatever issues there may be, and then have to deal with that reality going forward. That means whatever is found to be an issue- and it might take years to discover - the buyer (you) will have to foot the bill for it. In a market where you’re also probably being encouraged to offer more money than the asking price, there is quite a bit of risk involved here. And this is on top of any safety hazards that may be present in the home.
What kinds of things could be missed - really, what is the risk here? Here’s just a partial list of the things we find on home inspections that are serious costly issues, or safety hazards, that you will inherit in a home if they are present, and will be a huge expense to you to deal with:
-Structural issues like settlement, foundation problems, or framing issues
-Termite or Carpenter Ant infestation
-Underground oil storage tank
-Knob and Tube, or other old, ungrounded wire
-Water infiltration problems
-Mold and indoor air quality issues
-Ice damming and related moisture damage
-Heating system failure
What can be done about this situation? We’d recommend sticking to your guns - insist on an inspection - and make your offer attractive in other ways. If you can, get an inspection before you make your offer. If you get an inspection before making your offer, then you might choose to waive the inspection contingency because you’ve already gotten it done.
How do you get an inspection before making an offer? In Massachusetts, where we are operating, the typical process is to get your offer accepted and then complete the home inspection. But you can get an inspection done prior to making your offer, you just have to work quickly and hope your agent can get it arranged for you.
Let us know if you have any questions on this!