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If are hoping to find your dream home in a competitive real estate market, or your offers on homes in your ideal neighbourhood keep getting beaten out, it can be all too tempting to resort to some rather desperate measures to try to ensure that your next offer is your last and you can move on from the house hunting to the house buying stage. In addition to offering more than the asking price or a quick closing, some buyers agree to waive inspections.
Let’s say this up front right now; this is never a good idea. The home may look wonderful to the naked eye – everything you have been looking for in fact – but it’s what’s beyond the surface, or items that you can’t identify as problematic, that cause the biggest issues.
For example, the typical buyer can’t spot an old asbestos problem, nor will they see evidence of termite infestation in the basement or attic. Or a leak inside the HVAC system. Or one of a myriad of other problems that are hidden from plain sight.
No matter how badly you want a house, or how emotionally attached you are fast becoming to it, you should never buy a Waterloo Region home without having it thoroughly inspected. Just imagine six months down the road, when you’ve closed on the sale and moved into your new home. You go to turn the heating on to start warming up your new home for the winter and realize it doesn’t work — and the fix is $20,000. Now who wishes they’ed ordered an inspection before closing the sale?
When you’re in the thick of a bidding war or in your third grueling month of searching for homes, you might not be able to see or think as clearly as you should. Don’t get caught up in the drama. Waiving a home inspection can cost you a fortune. Here are some alternative solutions to satisfy your need to inspect, while remaining competitive.
If you love the home, inspect before you make an offer or sign a contract. Worst case scenario, you spend a few hundred dollars investigating a home you don’t purchase. Better to be safe than sorry.
The seller’s inspection
Often, a seller will have their property inspected before listing for sale. They do this so that they can either iron out any issues in advance of listing the home or so buyers know upfront exactly what they’re getting. It protects the sellers from future negotiations, and allows them to price the property correctly from the start.
The only issue is that the inspector is liable only to the person who paid for and ordered the inspection. That is the seller. If that inspector missed something, you don’t have any recourse.
In most cases, even in a ‘bidding war’ there is a small window of time between when offers are due, and a deal starts to go forward. Sellers don’t want to lose momentum, particularly when there are multiple offers.
If the market moves fast and you need to get your offer in so quickly that there isn’t time to inspect, pre-schedule an inspection for a day or two out. If you work with a good local agent, they will have relationships with an inspector who will do that.
Writing a one- or two-day inspection contingency into your offer gives the seller comfort that they won’t lose momentum if you walk away. You get peace of mind in the meantime.
Which of these options works best for you will depend very much upon the unique situation you find yourself in but once again, whatever else you do, don’t skip that inspection!