What I am seeing is that buyers are forgoing (and in some cases being encouraged to forgo) home inspections to both save money and to avoid “one more obstacle” in the way of having their offer accepted by the seller. Some of the reasoning behind this thought process is interesting–and one can only hope it remains “isolated” and not the tip of the ice-berg of some “trend.”
Some of this encouragement to avoid inspections is especially prevalent around homes that are likely to have multiple offers. The only way a buyer has any chance of getting the home of their dreams is if they “sweeten” their offer by waiving the inspection.
This has led to either buyers ignoring the inspection altogether or having a “walk-through” inspection done where the inspector is only looking for major deal killer issues and there is no written report provided after the inspection. In some localized markets in Seattle there are inspectors doing LOTS of this type of inspection. These inspections are cursory in nature and there is always going to be some amount of risk to all parties when they are performed–but perhaps not as much as if no inspection is done at all.
I was at a house in Seattle the other day where there were 9 inspectors at the home all at the same time and where two days earlier there were 8 inspections done on that same house. These 17 inspections were only the ones that I was privy to information on–perhaps there were others as well. If all of these were full inspections, that would be a lot of money thrown at inspections that had no chance of resulting in home ownership. Spending a couple of hundred dollars on a walk-through inspection makes economic sense as opposed to spending five or six hundred dollars on a full inspection. Of course it is prudent for the inspector to be called back for the full inspection, with written report, if the client prevails.
There is also another side to this story. There is a growing seller reluctance to allow dozens of parties to traipse through their home without any offer on the table.
Hot markets can create all kinds of problems for everyone it seems.
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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