Here’s why your home inspection matters

What you need to know about these important steps—and what to do if something goes wrong.

Here are the highlights:

  • If you’re in the market for a house: Now’s the time to understand the purpose of your home inspection—and why it’s important.
  • An inspection is an essential step in the purchase process, needed to assess the true condition of a home and alert you to any (potentially costly) underlying issues.
  • When you make an offer on a house, it’s usually contingent on a home passing its inspection. But over the past few years, we’ve been in a seller’s market. This has led roughly 30 percent of buyers to waive their inspection to increase the odds of getting their offer accepted.

Did you know you can still do an inspection even after you’ve purchased a house? If you’re a new homeowner who waived your inspection, it’s not too late. Get in touch with a local Loan Officer to find out how a post-closing home inspection can help you budget for potential repairs and protect your largest investment.

To waive or not to waive? What to know before forgoing your inspection

Once your offer is accepted, your loan application will begin being processed. During this time, an appraisal is ordered, and an inspection is conducted on the house.

While these tasks seem similar, they’re distinctly different:

  • An appraisal determines a property’s fair market value and is required by most lenders when taking out a mortgage.
  • An inspection determines the property’s condition and, though it’s recommended, isn’t required.

Unless it’s waived, a home inspection is typically ordered by a homebuyer and their agent, using an inspector of their choosing, shortly after an offer is accepted. Most states’ real estate contracts stipulate that a buyer has 10 days from the date of contract acceptance to complete the inspection and communicate any issues to the seller.

But these days, as many as 30 percent of buyers are choosing to skip this step in the homebuying process. This can happen in a competitive housing market. When it’s a seller’s market—and sellers have the upper hand—a seller usually gives preference to offers with minimal contingencies. The fewer, the better. Fewer contingencies can often indicate a stronger offer, showing that a deal is more likely to close.

Like the appraisal, a home inspection is intended to protect the homebuyer. This is why, almost always, agents will insist on a buyer getting one. The buyer is responsible for footing the bill and picking the inspector. A home inspection takes a few hours and may cost anywhere from $300 to $500; costs can vary, depending on complexity and square footage. It’s also a good idea to pay extra for termite inspection.

Your agent will likely provide you with several referrals to inspectors they’ve worked with and trust. Make sure to check references and qualifications as different homes (like older or historic properties) can require different skillsets. Also, ask to see a sample inspection report to gauge thoroughness before making your final selection. Once completed, your home inspection report will usually be delivered to you within 24 hours.

So, should you waive your inspection if you want to get your offer accepted? In most cases, probably not:

  • For one thing, the market is nowhere near as extreme as it was even a year ago. Demand has moderated, and homebuyers have more leverage; they no longer need to sacrifice this self-protection.
  • There are also plenty of horror stories of buyers who believed they bought their dream home, only to have it immediately start falling apart.

While an inspection can’t forestall every major issue a home might have, especially if it’s an older house, it can tell you what repairs may be needed within a year so that you know what you’re getting into. Should an inspection turn up significant problems, you may be able to negotiate a lower price—or, at the very least, request that repairs are completed before closing.

And if you still want or need to grab a seller’s attention, you have options. Getting early pre-approval, making a larger down payment, bidding over asking price, and agreeing to pay a portion of potential repairs are all ways to solidify your offer without taking on the risk of purchasing an uninspected house.

How to submit a strong offer—without waiving your inspection

Before you waive your home inspection: Reach out to a local Academy Loan Officer and ask them how you might benefit from using Pre-Approval+*. Pre-Approval+* gives you the chance to take your loan beyond standard pre-approval, making your offer extra-attractive and helping you to close more than twice as fast.

*Pre-Approval+ is not a commitment to lend. All mortgage products are subject to credit and property approval. Rates, program terms, and conditions are subject to change without notice. Not all products are available in all states or for all amounts. Additional conditions, qualifications, and restrictions may apply. Please contact Academy Mortgage for more information. MAC823-1482825.