According to MarketWatch, winning offers made by Redfin agents waived the home inspection over 30% of the time in December of 2020.
If you’re an eager homebuyer and you’ve just seen the house of your dreams, this makes sense in a way. You get to skip the paperwork, avoid delays, and jump straight to closing on the house.
But for all the perceived benefits of speeding your way into home ownership, there are very real risks involved with skipping parts of the process. Here’s a list of four pitfalls of waiving your home inspection that you should know about before you make your decision.
Pitfall #1: Paying More Than Necessary on Your Property
Whether you’re purchasing a new build or an already-existing home, there are usually a number of housekeeping items and minor, I-can-fix-that issues that could save you a substantial amount of money on the purchase price . . . If only you could point them out.
And even if you do spot a potential repair, the distinction between “fair point” and “unreasonable nitpicking” can be subjective.
In 2019, Business Insider reported that the median price of a home was $226,800. Even if you’re purchasing a house that’s a little cheaper or a little more expensive than that, chances are that you’re already locked into paying a solid six figures on your home purchase as it is. A home inspection report gives you the objective, professional opinion that can give you the negotiating room needed to knock a few thousand dollars off of that initial asking price.
Pitfall #2: Missing Major Hidden Flaws
Every house, whether it’s new or pre-owned, comes with its own unique quirks. Maybe the upper outlet in the guest bedroom doesn’t work. Maybe the stovetop controls need to be turned just so in order to bring your burner to life.
But even if you’re buying a character home, not every flaw will get an “Aw, shucks that’s just the way it is.” type of response.
You wouldn’t expect a regular person off the street to understand the human body better than a trained and experienced surgeon. In the same way, if you don’t know what to look for, there could be problems with the house that you won’t see on the first, second, or third walkthrough. A home inspection allows you to get your future home appraised by an experienced professional.
Pitfall #3: Getting Stuck with Unexpected Repairs
When you own a home, you don’t have the luxury of calling your landlord if the kitchen sink springs a leak.
But because failing HVAC systems or flooring problems often don’t become must-fix issues overnight, most homeowners have time to plan and build up their house and home funds.
When you waive the home inspection, however, you just don’t know what you’re walking into. Waiting for the report makes it easier to avoid making the mistake of moving into a fixer-upper while thinking you’ve bought a move-in ready home.
Pitfall #4: Having Problems Getting Insurance
At the end of the day, insurance companies typically don’t have the resources or the manpower needed to inspect every house. So they often rely on home inspection reports to be their eyes and ears when it comes to evaluating property.
In the absence of that inspection, many insurance companies will refuse to insure the home.
This is a problem because even if you’ve done everything right in terms of working on your credit score, building up your savings, and putting down a large down payment, many lenders will be reluctant to give a final mortgage approval to an uninsured home.
As a result, waiving the home inspection can put a real damper on your ability to become a homeowner if you’re financing your purchase with a loan.
Skipping the home inspection is in some regards like going on an all-sugar diet. Sure, it might feel good for a while and you can do it. But when you’ve got your dreams of homeownership on the line, that doesn’t mean that you should.
When you get right down to it, buying a house is the definition of a major purchase. Not having insurance, the possibility of discovering repairs that leave you with feelings of “I would have reconsidered this if I’d known.”, and missing out on the ability to save a few dollars during negotiations, are all pretty terrible outcomes if you’re looking to buy a house.
In many ways, a home inspection report can help you sidestep these disastrous pitfalls and move into the house you’ve been searching for with ease.