Is a home inspection necessary?


If you’re buying a house, you’ve probably heard of a tactic some people use to have their offer accepted with a smaller cash offer. It has become more common for people to pass on a home inspection to make their offer more appealing to the seller. This is a gamble that nothing will go wrong and the home does not have any hidden problems.

So is the home inspection required?

The short answer is no. Inspections are generally not required when using a mortgage to buy a home you intend to live in. Lenders almost always require an appraisal before they will approve a home loan, in order to determine how much the house is worth. The lender doesn’t care about nuisance issues you may run into on a daily basis—they care about their investment. And a mortgage is an investment in you, backed by the property that they will take away from you if you do not meet your obligation.

So a home inspection isn’t required, but it is necessary. The inspection is to ensure you are getting a hazard-free property, making a good investment, and that you won’t have an overwhelming amount of repairs to make before moving in.

When you don’t require a home inspection, you’re trusting the seller to honestly disclose everything that’s wrong with the house. Some sellers may have no idea that the cast iron sewer pipe is pitted and a few months away from bursting in your basement while causing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Other sellers may know, and that’s why they put the home on the market, but they don’t want to tell you because it would lower the sale price. This is why it is so important to have an impartial expert come in and evaluate the house. They will give an honest, informed opinion.

With that being said, a home inspection is not a guarantee that you’ll uncover every problem. A home inspector will focus on the condition of the property and all of the installed systems. They will also keep an eye out for any potential health and safety issues.

For example, you probably didn’t go into the attic or crawl spaces while you were at an Open House, but the home inspector will. They will carefully search these areas for structural damage or signs of pests such as mice or termites. You do not want to buy a house and discover you are sharing it with a family of raccoons that live over your bedroom, or that the electrical box isn’t wired to code and is a fire hazard.

It is entirely possible they will miss something, and if they do, there is no recourse. However, the best home inspectors have a long track record of Success and can save you thousands of dollars. Your Realtor has probably worked with many throughout their career and can recommend one to you who they trust. You will receive a report at the end and can present the items you want to be fixed to the sellers. They will agree with some and disagree with others. Often you can negotiate the cost of the repairs into the sale price of the home, then have your own professionals come out and do the work.

A home inspection is all about reducing the risk in your investment. Make sure you insist on one.

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