In what cases would you NOT hire an inspector?

18 Replies

I always thought every house purchase automatically required a professional inspection. Is this true? Are there exceptions?

In my conversation with the bank thus far, the topic has not come up yet. So, I'm assuming the requirement is different for commercially financed purchases?

If you buy a rental unit and DON'T have it inspected... (I mean, does anybody ever actually do this?) ...what kind of chances are you taking?

As always, thanks in advance for your insight. You guys are great, and so helpful.

If its bank owned or short sale most likely it is sold as is where if you want a shot at it you need to buy it as is, no inspection.

Last 3 properties I bought I only did an inspection on 1 of them. Ya sure, not doing a inspection is a bit of a gamble but if you know what to look for or are pretty handy I would feel comfortable without doing one. My last inspection I figure I would do one and paid $450 and think it was kind of a waste of money. The inspector really did not tell me anything that I already did not know. If your a newbie or 1st time home buyer I would definitely get one. If your not doing an inspection take an hour or so at the property and go through it good. Make sure the plumbing, electrical and furnace, hot water heater works. If it is winterized assume it does NOT work.

I wouldn't hire an inspector for a complete tear-down and rebuild. I would for everything else.

For the properties sold as-is, I'd still get an inspection knowing the seller will not make any repairs or concessions. But I still want to know what I am buying.

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I have never gotten one. However I have been in construction, remodeling, and maintenance all my life. I feel comfortable in my knowledge and do my own inspections.

It is not a requirement and typically you have a certain time frame (5 days in IL) from when you sign the contract to back out of the deal because of what comes up on a inspection. As far as not getting one, I would only if it were a tear down or I was a contractor with the experience to spot everything

We don't always have a formal inspection. The hubby is handy and did apartment maintenance/minor construction for years. He's comfortable knowing when something doesn't look right and needs a specialist (like a foundation issue).

What chances are we taking? That we'll miss something. That is also possible with a professional inspector. I will say it's definitely not a bad idea to have a professional inspection always.

@CL Tumlin - Most of my purchases are MLS-listed REOs that need a rehab. And I very often make an offer with no inspection contingencies. But, at the same time I am trying to get the house at a great price. My offer with no inspection contingency, proof of funds, and no other contingencies will often get me a good deal, even when someone else has made a higher offer.

If I am buying a house below market and am planning on some rehab before using it as a rental I don't usually bother with inspections. If I cannot test a component (if the utilities are off) I assume the component is not functional. If the furnace or water heater is older I assume that I will have to replace it soon and figure that into the price. I do the same if I have any questions about the roof, electrical or any other aspect of the house. Sometimes I am correct and I have to make the repair soon after purchase but most times the component lasts a few years, sometimes considerably longer. If I see anything that looks like it could remotely be a structural defect I will generally just pass on the house but if there is a compelling reason to buy the house (great neighborhood, excellent price, wonderful floor plan, etc.) I will bring in an inspector to get a solid idea of what I am dealing with.

The exception is a home that is in ready to rent condition. If the home has been recently rehabbed I want to make sure that the repairs I am paying for have been done correctly and for that I hire an inspector and want all the utilities on for a full test of everything.

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I always get an inspection, and I'm a contractor that does all the work. I just do it for piece of mind and to have someone double-check my findings. Generally speaking, we usually line up with the same thoughts. I also like an inspector to do things like crawl in the dirt crawl space when its 15*F outside and get me pictures and a good idea of whats hidden down there.

Really, the main reason I constantly use my inspector is because for $100 he video scopes the sewer mains. This has saved me TONS of money on 2 (recent) occasions. Both ended up needing totally replaced mains and I was able to adjust my offer accordingly (and submit proof, so they couldn't hide it from the next buyer). When it comes to interior stuff, especially because I generally end up gutting it isn't that necessary. Anything really bad that I find hidden in a wall he wouldn't have been able to see anyways. I know some places sewer scopes aren't that common, but here in CO we have very expansive soil so I would definitely recommend someone buy that insurance.

I have always hired an inspector. Unfortunately the last 2 out of the last 3 times it was a waste of money as he didn't catch some problems that arose after closing. I think I paid $400 and $700 for these inspections.

Even though I am pretty handy and have done my share of rehabs the fact that I knew that an inspector was coming allowed me to slack off and not go over the properties with a fine comb myself. If I had not had an inspector I probably would have looked more closely and caught the two issues myself.

In case anyone is interested the first issue caused flooding in the house. Thankfully just after demo. The dirt needed to be graded properly as it was up past the foundation and so the run off from heavy storms was going through the weep holes. The second issue was also water related. A leaking shower pan which I could have caught had I noticed the base boards on the opposite wall to the shower has water damage.

@CL Tumlin

We're buying a lot of distressed property, reos, foreclosures, tax sales, sheriff sales, all of which are AS-IS-WHERE-IS. Sometimes they're occupied and we can get permission to go inside, sometimes permission is not granted. On the post court house properties, obviously we do get in, about half the time the utilities are off. We do our own inspections, if we see something amiss we will call in a specialist. And since most houses have basements, we don't crawl under them just like @Duncan Taylor

A note of caution here. I too bought a short-sale in 2012, after a 9 months ordeal that filled with drama and anxiety, the bank gave us like 2 weeks to close. Since it really was as-is and my hair was a lot grayer than when we made the offer, I decided to do my own inspection.

There were no surprises and I did not step through the ceiling. We closed the deal. Long story short, we couldn't get a real home insurance due to a tired roof and lack of maintenance issues. What did they expect from owners who didn't pay their mortgage anymore?! But the surprise after 1 year when we installed a new roof and switched insurance company. The new agent told us after the fact, that they had to raise my premium due to the fact I did not get a formal home inspection so did not qualify for the lower rate. It did not go up by much, like 40 a year. But if I knew I'd just get it inspected and be done with it.

After we'd bought a few and had professional inspectors miss major issues, we gave it up and inspect ourselves. If we have worries about a specific system, ie heat&air, our contractors will look at it for us usually at no cost. (We give them a lot of biz)

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