As any savvy real estate professional will tell you, a home inspection is an absolute necessity for a home buyer to make an educated and informed purchasing decision.  But what happens when the real estate market is hot and sellers are receiving multiple offers — more often than not — tens of thousands of dollars over asking price with no purchase conditions?

For most buyers, the home inspection occurs after the seller has accepted an offer.  But in the current real estate market, the more conditions you submit with your offer, the less chance you have at being the successful bidder.  So what can you do to give yourself the best chance at being successful while protecting your hard-earned dollars, knowing that you have peace of mind, and making an informed decision on the actual condition of the property you’re buying?

If you wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, then why would you take a chance and compromise on your biggest purchase and risk a lifetime of headaches?  Due to the never-ending rise in the real estate market, a new trend has developed with residential home inspections.  Realtors are recommending to their clients to get a Pre-Offer Home Inspection prior to submitting an offer on the property.

What is a Pre-Offer Inspection?

A Pre-Offer Home Inspection is a thorough visual inspection of all the major systems and components of a residential property, including:

  • Roofing – flashings and chimney(s)
  • Exterior – gutters & downspouts, soffits & fascia, lot grading, wall surfaces, porches, decks
  • Structure – footings, foundations, walls, floor sills, beams, joists
  • Heating and Cooling Systems – distribution piping
  • Electrical – distribution panel, wiring, GFCI
  • Plumbing – supply, drain pipes, fixtures
  • Insulation – in attic, walls and basement areas
  • Interior – floors, walls, ceilings, stairs, windows, fireplaces/wood stoves, basement/crawl space

The inspection report includes all noted deficiencies and/or repairs required as well as recommendations and cost estimates.

Why Consider a Pre-Offer Inspection?

A pre-offer inspection gives you the ability to know the facts and discover any potential issues with the home that may make you hesitant to move forward with the purchase.  For example, you may encounter major structural problems that could change your mind about purchasing the property.

Additionally, a pre-offer inspection can help you submit a more realistic offer. The stronger your offer, the better able you are to compete against other buyers. One way to sweeten the deal is to submit an offer that’s not contingent on acceptable inspection results. A pre-offer inspection gives you the information you need before you make the offer.

Furthermore, a pre-offer inspection can also reveal the commitment level of both parties.  If buyer and seller agree to a pre-offer inspection, it shows that everyone involved is serious about the sale.

It’s comes down to protecting the Buyer

What we’ve encountered more often than not in this highly competitive real estate market is we have had buyer agents call us to set up an appointment on behalf of their clients to conduct a home inspection while they do a second viewing.  This has been suggested by the agents on many occasions.  It’s an excellent opportunity to get the pre-offer inspection done and for the agents’ clients to have the peace of mind and known facts on hand prior to submitting an offer.

Words of Caution

Surprisingly enough, some sellers may refuse to agree to any home inspection, let alone a pre-offer one. In today’s hot market, a buyer should be wary if this situation arises and question the seller’s reasons for not wanting an inspection conducted.

Final Thoughts

At a minimum, home buyers should know the facts about the property they are considering buying.  Canadian Home Inspection Services prides itself on educating its customers so they have all the information at hand required to make an informed purchase decision.