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Ask a Principal Broker: Get a Home Inspection

by Catherine Fisher, Managing Principal Broker of Town & Country Realty

Home inspections are vitally important. A few years ago, I worked with a client who wanted to buy his father’s house. That seems easy enough. The Buyer wrote a strong cash offer slightly above market value to ensure his siblings did not think he was taking advantage of their father. The offer included the usual contingencies for inspection, title and disclosure. The father accepted the offer and away we went towards closing. Here’s where it got sticky – the Buyer said he did not need a home inspection because he could see the house was fine and his father was a contractor in the past (although wheelchair bound by this point). He was not worried, but I was. I pleaded with him to at least get a home inspection. He finally agreed to so that he would know what “minor issues” he would need to fix in the future since this would be a rental. Thankfully he did because the inspector found $14,000 worth of dry rot damage to the joists and supports in the crawlspace. This would have been a terrible surprise down the road as the situation worsened and the house sagged.

Had we not caught this during the inspection, future holiday gatherings may not have gone so well. The mistake the Buyer made was thinking he did not need the inspection simply because the house looked good and he knew the Seller. Unfortunately, these situations do not protect you from the unseen or unknown. Often issues in the crawl space or attic are not found until a home inspection is performed during a sale transaction.

Additionally, in this market, with the low inventory and high buyer demand, Buyers are making offers that waive all inspection contingencies. This is a very dangerous situation in which to put oneself. Unless a Buyer is extremely knowledgeable about construction and personally inspects the crawlspace, attic and other less noticeable areas, it is not recommended that the Buyer waive their home inspection. Instead, we recommend that the Buyer amend the inspection contingency so that the Buyer may terminate the contract if a major issue is found and also reassure the Seller that there will not be repair expenses for minor issues.

If you have any questions about the home inspection contingency or anything else real estate related, please call us at 541-757-1781.

At Town & Country Realty we have been providing the place you love to come home to since 1951!