Is an inspection necessary?


By lenaluca10   Follow   Mon, 26 Nov 2012, 8:28am   1,168 views   15 comments
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So, it looks like a short sale home that I put an offer on is going to happen. The seller and lender finally got antsy and is the process of accepting my offer now that the heating system broke (which will be on me to replace, but that's not the point of this post!).

Anyway, last time I bought a home, I found the inspection to be a waste of money: everything I was told, I knew, and what he uncovered as "possible" issues, he didn't expand on anyway, as it would've required an expert to come in and look at it (plumber or electrician... and I could visually see these issues anyway, and would have brought in the expert regardless of the inspector report). I've gone through the house myself with 2 people who - in my opinion - know just as much as an inspector and found what the major issues are (heating system, roof, shingles worn out, etc).

However, I am getting a mortgage (live in MA) and I believe an inspection may be necessary to secure the loan? I need to research that, which would make all this a moot point, I guess.

However, I would still love some insight as to why an inspection is worth doing.

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  1. edvard2


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    1   8:45am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    In my opinion getting a good home inspector is worth every penny. We used one when we bought and even though the house was in great shape, he pointed out a few smaller things I have since fixed.

  2. FortWayne


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    2   9:08am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Not everyone can know everything that is wrong with the house. Spend the $2 get an inspection.

  3. zzyzzx


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    3   9:35am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I doubt an inspector could find anything that I couldn't find myself.

  4. lenaluca10


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    4   10:27am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    See, I agree with the sentiment that an inspector wouldn't find anything that I (who has bought a house built in 1880, and renovated it extensively, my boyfriend (who has renovated 2 houses built in the 1800's), my dad (ditto on the renovation of a prewar and a postwar house), and my electrician brother couldn't find.

    And since it is being sold as is, with no room to negotiate (unless septic fails, of course), I'm just not seeing the point! And it's not the money, it is just that it feels like it's part of the "process" that everyone says you should do when buying a house, and, well, it seems like a racket to me.

    Every inspector I've met/heard about is some retired guy who used to be a contractor

  5. lenaluca10


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    5   10:44am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Nah, that's alarmist. I probably will get an inspection for peace of mind and a possible out if needed (though I am confident nothing I don't already know will be revealed).

    I've seen enough houses and had enough people see this house that I'm sure it's structurally sound.

  6. CaptainShuddup


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    6   11:13am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    zzyzzx says

    I doubt an inspector could find anything that I couldn't find myself.

    That's the whole thing. The horrible things that could go wrong, no inspector in a few hours will never find.

    1)Pipes that are ready to break behind the wall.
    2)Drain fields that don't have much life left to them, even though they are affluent for now.
    3)They can look in the attic and find any water spots from past leaks. But if the roof has been exposed for several months in a drought, the leak wont be evident until a big rain comes.
    4)They wont find a relative new termite infestation, until they make an exit hole, or in most cases have swarmed. Which can take up to 5 years.
    5)They can't tell you the condition of the sub-floor. Which could be problematic when you replace the carpet or tile.

  7. Mobi


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    7   11:28am Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Check w/ your local attorney but here I don't believe you need to have the inspection to secure the loan. For buying foreclosure, I always forfeit the inspection and count it as repair when I am not sure whether it is broken.

  8. Mark D


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    8   2:05pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    i think it's required for FHA loans. you should be able to verify it with a lender, where you get your pre-approval letter.
    i would get one, even for new constructions and put a contingency in the contract.

  9. EastCoastBubbleBoy


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    9   6:53pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    For me it was the piece of mind. In my view, the more sets of eyes the better. Will the inspector find something other than what you have already discovered? Perhaps not, given your confidence in the two people that have already looked at it I would infer that they are competent.

    If there is room to renegotiate, then having an inspection report to back you up can help.

    Also, in some cases its not the major stuff, but the minor stuff that can nickel and dime you to the point that a lower price is warranted.

  10. Call it Crazy


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    10   7:35pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    EastCoastBubbleBoy says

    If there is room to renegotiate, then having an inspection report to back you up can help.

    Here is a question along those same lines, has anyone used the results of the inspection to support a low ball offer on a foreclosure?

    Being that most foreclosures are bought "as is" and you really don't know all the issues, has anyone had success using a inspection report outlining all the defects to get the bank to accept a lower offer instead of their "asking" price?

  11. rufita11


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    11   9:10pm Mon 26 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Once an inspection is done, doesn't it have to be included in future disclosures? Wouldn't this give you quite a bit of leverage in lowering the price?

  12. Kevin


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    12   12:26am Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    An inspection is almost always worth the price, except maybe on brand-new construction from a reputable builder. The inspector noticing something that you overlooked could mean a huge cost down the road. It's only a few hundred bucks.

  13. upisdown


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    13   6:17am Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    lenaluca10 says

    Every inspector I've met/heard about is some retired guy who used to be a contractor

    That's not really retired, is it? It sounds more like they couldn't make a living as a contractor, or that home inspection is a lot easier.

    We refer to "home inspectors" as somebody that wanted to cash in on the hosuing frenzy, but didn't have a ladder and a truck. Otherwise they would've called themself a builder.

    Most of the time using a "home inspector" is out of your hands as a bank requires their inspection report. But, the bank also know the lack of experience and expertise that 'home insectors" lack. Most structural damage is obvious, but the technical stuff goes right past a "home inspector".
    Case in point, we were going to buy a duplex years ago after the owner passed away. His acct was bidding against us and eventually outbid us. A few months after he bought it, he called me up to ask if I noticed one of the downspout drains going into the house and where it went in at. Well, it didn't go into the house, but instead went underground to the back of the property to a dry well. He paid to have a sump pit and pump put in that wasn't needed at all, simply because the "home inspector" saw where water had accumulated on the floor and thought that is where it came from and couldn't figure out where the downspout drained to. Where the water ACTUALLY came from was a leaky metal window frame.

    Was it money well spent? The other bidder and eventually the owner didn't have a choice, and his bid was about $12,000. higher than ours. Ya think that "home inspector" might have missed a few other things too?

  14. upisdown


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    14   6:43am Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    LiarWatch says

    They can miss everything and as owner, you're still stuck.

    Yup, and his numbers are so far out of whack he can barely afford to change a light fixture. The bank should have never touched it, and neither should have the (now)owner. The former owner's kids think that we bid up the price because we liked their dad. We did like their dad, but I eventually explained to them the real reason why. It sold in March 2006.

  15. Mobi


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    15   7:00am Tue 27 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    LiarWatch says

    Kevin says



    An inspection is almost always worth the price,


    And if he misses it, where is his liability? That's right.... he has none.


    "Inspections" are a waste of money unless a punchlist of defects are developed in order to work the sale price down.

    You can sue the inspector if he missed something major. I knew an inspector gotten sued and quitted.

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