Once your offer is accepted, your loan application will begin processing. 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 some buyers choose to skip this step. This can happen in a competitive market with low inventory. When it’s a seller’s market, a seller usually gives preference to offers with minimal contingencies. Fewer contingencies can indicate 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. Once completed, a home inspection report is usually delivered within 24 hours.
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 a few years 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 so you know what you’re getting into. Should an inspection turn up significant problems, you may be able to negotiate a lower price. At the very least, you can request that repairs are completed before closing.
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.