Skipping home inspection could be costly

Michelle Davis - 2024 NETAR President

There’s a good chance home inspections will increase on the existing home sales headache list this year. They rank right up there with appraisals. Both can push deals back to negotiations or cause them to fall through. 

NETAR President
Association Spokesperson

Although buyers have regained a little more negotiating muscle, we’re still in a solid sellers’ market. If we had a buyers’ market or a balanced market, sellers would be told to order a pre-listing inspection to assure buyers no skeletons were in the home’s closet. It’s still good advice but comes with a potential burden. If the inspector finds issues, the seller must tell the buyer about anything not fixed.  

Pre-listing inspections are not as big a deal in today’s market.  Some buyers are tempted to skip them to trim the cost of buying a home if their lender doesn’t require one., a home inspection website, says 88% of buyers used an inspector in recent purchases.  

During the inspections 86% found things that needed attention. The good news is in about half of the cases buyers and their agents bargained down the final sales price.  

Inspections costs vary depending on the size of the property and the intensity of the inspection. Still, it’s a small price compared to what it could cost because skipping it could cost buyers hundreds if not thousands of dollars.  

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 them 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. 

Census reports show 92% 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%. 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 get as much tender love and care as the recommended level. 

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 1,800+ members and 100+ business partners involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Weekly market reports and information for both consumers and members are available on the NETAR website at