Skipping a home inspection before buying could be costly

Home inspections are at the top of the headache list for home resales. They rank second only to appraisals. Both can send a deal back to negotiations or cause it to fall through.

Kristi Bailey

When we had a buyers’ market, sellers were advised to order a pre-listing inspection to assure buyers no skeletons were in the home’s closet. It was good advice but came with a potential burden.  If the inspector found issues, the seller was obligated to tell the buyer about anything  not fixed.

Pre-listing inspections are not as big a deal in today’s market.  Some buyers competing in a multiple offers situation have even been willing to forego an inspection.

That’s a mistake. No home is perfect. A study of home inspections from Porch.com, a home inspection website, says 86 percent of inspections will find something that needs fixing. In some cases, it’s not a big deal. However, skipping the inspection could cost thousands down the road if it’s a major issue.

An inspection for a condo or a small home has a base price of 200 and up. The price increases for larger properties.  That’s a small price compared to the average cost of skipping the inspection could cost buyers.

When a home inspector does his – or her – job they evaluate the roof, ceiling, walls, floor, windows, doors, major appliances, heating and air condition systems, plumbing and electrical systems, accord to the Inspection Support Network, a software solution firm.

A recent article in REALTOR® Magazine listed the most common issues home inspectors found, according to a survey of nearly 1,000 buyers. Here are the top five cited by REALTOR® Magazine from that survey and another by the Inspections Support Network.

  • “Roofing: More than 19% of inspections uncover roofing concerns. According to the Inspection Support Network study, home inspectors will check for leaks, venting, material condition, proper installation, and other visible issues with the roof.
  • “Electrical wiring: More than 18% of inspections uncover electrical wiring issues. The most common are reversed polarity, frayed insulation, DIY wiring, over-fusing, and mismatched wiring.
  • “Windows: More than 18% of inspections uncover problems with windows. This can hamper energy efficiency and also cause issues with indoor air quality.
  • “Gutters: Nearly 17% of inspections identified issues with gutters. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and lead to damage.
  • “Plumbing: About 14% of reveal troubles with plumbing. The most frequent issues are a leaky faucet or clogged drain.”

Home inspections are a bigger deal in the Tri-Cities region than some other markets because most homes have some age on them.

The most current Census reports show 92 percent of the homes in the Johnson City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) are 20 years old or older. The MSA includes Carter, Washington, and Unicoi counties.

The Kingsport-Bristol MSA’s housing inventory of 20-year-old or older homes is 96 percent. That MSA includes Hawkins and Sullivan counties in NE Tenn. and Scott and Washington counties in SW Va.

Many of those homes were well maintained and upgraded. Others didn’t receive as much tender love and care.

Buyers should sit down with their REALTOR® for a heart-to-heart talk about waving an inspection contingency even though it’s tempting when competing in a market with an ever-growing inventory crunch. It’s part of the long-view buyers face in today’s red hot sellers’ market, and their REALTORS® are their best source of what to and what not to do.

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee – Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,400 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Pending sales, Trends Reports, and the regional market analytics can be found on the NETAR websites at https://netar.us/voice-real-estate-northeast-tennessee.