People do crazy things to buy the home of their dreams in a hot market. They purchase properties sight unseen. They offer well (well) above asking price. They get caught up in FOMO (fear of missing out) and make quick decisions on huge purchases. In today’s market with low inventory of properties for sale, waiving the home inspection contingency to strengthen a purchase offer has started to translate into bypassing the home inspection process altogether.
While a competitive market often requires quick thinking, advance planning and a potentially higher purchase price to win, it doesn’t mean you should (or have to) give up insights into the home you’re purchasing. Waiving a home inspection contingency doesn’t prevent you from getting an inspection done – either during the sales process or after you’ve purchased the home.
What’s the harm in having working knowledge of the home you’re about to purchase—the investment that’s often the single most expensive in most people’s lives? Not much, but you could face plenty of risk in not knowing.
Four Reasons Not to Waive Your Home Inspection Altogether
Danger could be hiding in plain sight
From recalled electrical panels to faulty plumbing to structural issues, any number of systems or items in your house could be affected, posing potential danger to you, your family or your new home itself. With an inspection done, especially from a trusted and thorough company like Insight Home Inspections, you’ll know if there are any defective or recalled systems or other potentially hidden issues in your new home.
The things you don’t know about could cost you significantly when you go to sell your home
Patrick Bain, president of Insight, recalls the boom of 2007, when many buyers waived inspections to get their homes only to encounter issues a few years later when they went to sell.
“The market had turned, so buyers were getting home inspections again. Many inspectors found serious—although hidden—problems with properties that their owners didn’t know about because they’d never had a home inspection,” Bain said. “It cost them with their sales prices, but had they known about the items, they could’ve fixed them and saved—or even made—more money when they sold.”
You’re missing out on a “homeowner’s guide to your new home”
Insight, which recently launched in the greater D.C. and Baltimore metro areas, goes beyond the normal home inspection process to deliver not just one, but two reports for homeowners and their agents—their Inspection Insights report (what you’d consider the traditional home inspection report) plus their Home Insights report, which is like an owner’s manual for your new home.
“Home Insights helps you learn about and maintain your home after you move in. Not sure how to turn off the outside water? Check your Home Insights report. Want to know what type of filters to use in your home? It’s in Home Insights,” said JB Haller, Insight’s managing director. “We inventory all components and systems in the home and show you how to enhance your comfort, ensure your safety and maximize your investment. It’s a truly invaluable resource for homeowners.”
Your home warranty claim might not be covered
Your home warranty claim might not be covered, leaving your home and its systems (plus your wallet) unprotected. When you get a home warranty, coverage is dependent on all systems being in good working order. If an inspection was never done, it could create challenges with validating whether a system was in proper working order at the time of purchase and effectively void the coverage purchased in the home warranty.
Likewise, Realtors should consider the risks to their livelihoods when their clients waive the home inspection contingency and don’t get a home inspection. Imagine what selling a home with significant issues could do to your business reputation and sales, let alone how it would affect your clients—many of whom become friends during the process of buying their home.
If you are buying a home—whether it’s for your primary residence or an investment—make sure to get a home inspection. Even if your purchase isn’t contingent on the inspection, at least you’ll know what you’re getting into when making one of the biggest investments of your life.