In this highly competitive Twin Cities market, some home buyers are waiving their inspection contingency to make their offer more competitive. When buyers agree to purchase “as is”, they are eliminating the negotiation process where sellers might be asked to repair items discovered during an inspection. Buyers purchasing as-is may think an inspection is a wasted investment but there’s definite value in learning as much as you can about your property prior to moving in!
Professional home inspectors are trained to look for things many people will not notice. You’ll want to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about your property and the inspection report will serve as a valuable guide. Here are some important reasons to have a home inspection even when purchasing an as-is property.
Safety & Liability
Our top priority in a home inspection is to discover issues that could impact the safety or health of our clients. For example, do you know if that outlet next to your kitchen sink is GFCI-protected (to prevent you from being electrocuted) or that, if installed, the GFCI-protected outlet actually works? Your home inspector will point out any items or areas of the home that may pose a safety hazard. Why is this so important? Of course you want to keep your own family safe. But also, it’s important to consider that if someone gets injured on your property, you may be held responsible.
During inspections, it’s surprising to find how many homes do not have adequate smoke/carbon-monoxide detectors or proper egress windows. These safety defects may seem minor in comparison to an unstable foundation. However, if you ask anyone who has been involved in a house fire, these “details” were awfully important, even life-saving!
If you don’t currently have young children, you may not notice or even be concerned that your second-story deck railing is 3 inches lower than the 36 inches building code requires (or 42 inches in some situations). However, if you host a neighborhood BBQ and an adventurous four-year old jumps up to lean over that railing and slips over the edge, you could be held liable for the child’s injuries or death. Wouldn’t you have wanted to know about that railing’s insufficient height prior to hosting a gathering?
It’s wise to have as much information as possible about potential safety hazards on your property.
A Home Inspection Helps You Budget for Future Expenses
The costs involved in purchasing a new home typically stretch us. The majority of new home owners focus on the excitement of decorating their new space. Choosing paint colors, and buying new fixtures and furniture isn’t cheap! But investing in a home inspection allows you to prioritize and budget home-related expenses much more effectively.
For instance, once your inspector shares that your furnace is 29 years old and is hanging on with “borrowed time”, you may decide to wait on building that beautifully landscaped, backyard fire-pit. Having heat in your home becomes the clear priority and you can effectively plan for this significant and likely expense.
Here’s another example: You’ve been wanting a classy “basement theater” for years. You finally have the perfect space to make this dream come true. You skipped the inspection in order to afford the leather recliners so you didn’t realize your chimney was missing it’s rain cap. After several spring rainfalls, your living space begins to smell musty. Eventually you hire an expert who discovers moisture intrusion and an accompanying mold issue lurking within your walls. In fact, two walls in your family room must be completely torn out and your family must relocate for 10 days while the mold is remediated and exterior walls reconstructed.
This example may seem extreme but issues involving moisture are often very expensive to fix. Replacing a chimney rain-cap would have been much cheaper than resolving the subsequent problems it’s absence created. Would you have known to look for the chimney’s missing rain-cap if your inspector hadn’t called it out?
Wait, What House was That?
I’ve heard from various realtors that although most buyers want to spend an entire day looking at houses, few can process more than four or five. It’s very difficult to remember all the houses and the specific details that should factor into a purchasing decision.
You may remember you liked the open floor plant at “House #2”. But did you notice if the roof or windows were in good repair? You recall “House #4” had a gorgeous, newly-remodeled master bath. However, the seller may have disclosed something about the roof leaking upstairs… or was the leak at “House #1?” When you’re visiting multiple homes and spending, on average, 30 minutes or less at each one, it’s hard to pay attention to all the important details.
A home inspection is worthwhile because your inspector will invest anywhere from 2-4 hours investigating the property. You’ll learn of small, DIY-type repairs and necessary routine maintenance. You’ll also learn of safety hazards or about areas where a professional contractor’s opinion may be advised.
Our completed report is used by both sellers and buyers as a detailed reminder of those items needing repairs in the home. Many of the items don’t have to be done right away, but can be repaired as time and resources allow. The finished report has detailed explanations, photos, and videos to remind you of the items discovered. You can address them as your schedule and budget allows.
In the End, A Home Inspection Provides Value
Getting a home inspection has value in nearly every situation, even when you are purchasing a property “as-is”. It will protect you, your family and guests from harm caused by unsafe or unhealthy conditions. The report will provide a “blueprint” for you to allocate resources to the most important issues in your property. It will help give you peace of mind in what is typically a very stressful situation. It will also help make your home purchase one with much fewer surprises. Don’t give up on the process that can help make your life safer and more enjoyable!