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Sep 2023

The Pros and Cons of Waiving a Home Inspection




What’s covered in a home inspection


Why an inspection gives you peace of mind and negotiating power


A home inspection’s cost in time and money




What’s covered in a home inspection


Why an inspection gives you peace of mind and negotiating power


A home inspection’s cost in time and money

When you go to the mall (are there still malls?) to shop for clothing, you try on the items first to be sure they fit and the quality is good. Sure, you can buy them without a closer look, but you may have to come back to the store to return those jeans with a broken zipper. Now you’ve lost time, gas, and you still don’t have a new outfit!

It’s the same with buying a home. You want to be sure everything is in good working order before you commit to its cost. That’s why lenders recommend home inspections. You don’t want to pay thousands for a repair on top of your new mortgage payment. But in a competitive market, we know not all homebuyers want to risk losing a property to other buyers willing to waive an inspection. Let’s look at what goes into a home inspection, plus its pros and cons. 

What Is a Home Inspection?  

A home inspection helps determine a home’s safety and the functionality of important features like the roof, plumbing, and HVAC. The home inspection differs from an appraisal, which lenders order to determine the home’s fair market value.

The lender or the law does not require a home inspection. But it will paint a clear picture of the property and give you tools to negotiate a better deal on potential repairs.  As the buyer, you select the home inspector and pay for it out of pocket, but you can negotiate for the seller to pay for it and other closing costs. The inspector will take a few hours to examine the physical structure of the home and determine if there are any issues with features like: 

  • Foundation and basement 

  • Plumbing  

  • Electrical  

  • Heating and cooling systems 

  • Condition of windows, doors, and door frames 

  • Major appliances 

  • General exterior and trees adjacent to the home (if applicable) 

If possible, it’s a good idea to be present at the inspection so you can see the findings for yourself. The final report will take another few days. 

What a Home Inspection Does Not Cover  

Standard home inspections do not look at cosmetic features like countertops or fixtures and generally don’t test for mold, radon, asbestos, lead, fireplace functionality, or pitched roofs. However, you can order inspections/testing for these conditions from your current inspector or a separate company specializing in those services.

Pest inspections are a separate service and only required for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans. Your Mortgage Banker can help you find great vendors for any inspection you need. 

Also, remember that manufactured homes have different inspection requirements according to the loan program.  

Sometimes, the seller has already paid for a home inspection to make their home more attractive to buyers. If so, be sure to get a copy, including receipts, for any repairs made.

The Pros of Home Inspections 

Atlantic Bay recommends home inspections for all but newly constructed homes under builder warranty. Besides learning the state of your new home’s systems...

You’ll have peace of mind that no large repairs are looming. Once again, a mortgage is quite an undertaking. You’ve done a great job getting approved for that monthly payment – you don’t want thousands added to it for an unexpected roof or HVAC malfunction.

An inspection helps you get to know your potential new home. You’ll see where all the features have their “hubs” - electrical boxes, heat pumps, etc.

The inspection can put you in a better bargaining position. If the inspector finds issues that need repairing, you and your agent can ask the seller to make the repairs now or deduct the cost from the sales price.

With a well-written contract, you can likely back out. If the seller won’t negotiate, you can exit the deal and keep your earnest money depositA deposit made to the seller that represents your good faith to purchase a home.earnest money depositA deposit made to the seller that represents your good faith to purchase a home.. You may lose a few hundred dollars on the inspection cost, but that’s better than losing thousands on a massive repair. 

The Cons of a Home Inspection 

An inspection is an additional expense on top of your other upfront costs (but not a large one). A single-family home inspection typically costs $300-$500, according to Try these tips for saving for your closing costs.

It will add time to your closing schedule. Although an inspection only takes a few hours, scheduling one means waiting (you and everyone else in the transaction) on the inspector’s schedule.

Requiring an inspection can make your offer less attractive. When you’re facing a “seller’s market” – meaning demand is higher than supply – requiring a home inspection can make your offer less competitive than buyers willing to purchase a home as-is. But consider this approach: Ask for a home inspection “for informational purposes only” in the contract. This way:  

  • The seller isn’t responsible for any repairs at all, OR 

  • You can promise to overlook any repair under a certain amount, like $500, OR 

  • You state you’re only looking for specific issues, such as a faulty foundation 

If the inspection brings bad news, you can walk away.  

Go with the Pros 

Remember, the seller is trying to make the most profit they can. Don’t trust a seller who downplays an inspection. They might innocently overlook an issue they don’t know about or try to cut corners by being dishonest. Trust your Mortgage Banker and agent, who have the experience to give you proper recommendations. Unless it’s a new home under warranty, it’s better to be safe than sorry!