To Inspect or Not to Inspect?

6 Replies

So, still working on getting my first deal done and so far, my hubby and I have made 2 offers on buy/hold properties and ended up withdrawing both of them because of foundation issues found during the inspection. It would cost more to fix it than the houses would ever be worth!!!

Anyway, we are looking at older houses in lower income neighborhoods so we are aware that there will be things that have to be repaired, but paying for a complete inspection every time we make an offer could real expensive, real fast if we have to withdraw because of a big issue - like the entire floor of the house, including the joists, is sitting directly on the ground and is completely rotted and full of fungus! This was found during the inspection of the latest offer.

I have zero construction experience, but I assume that anyone with any knowledge at all of construction could have spotted that pretty quickly by looking at the crawl space during the initial walk-thru of the house and saved us the trouble of writing an offer in the first place. Is that a safe assumption?

Does it make sense to maybe pay someone with experience a consultation fee to go with us when we look at these houses and point out big ticket items or ("big rocks" as I call them) that could be a deal breaker or have a big affect on what we would actually offer on the house knowing an expensive repair is imminent? Then maybe when we have more experience we will know what we are looking for and can do it ourselves...

And, if we do that, should we still get a complete inspection?

For all I know, this is really commonplace and will end up being a big "DUH" moment for me...but this is literally a matter of not even knowing what I don't know! HA!

Thanks for your advice!

I would highly recommend a professional inspector for your first few deals. However, it is much cheaper to go ahead and get the house under contract before you bring in the inspector. Make sure your offer includes an option period (which usually comes with an option fee). If you wait until after the property is under contract, then at least you are only bringing the inspector in after you've agree to some basic terms with the seller. That means, you'll be inspecting far fewer properties.

As you gain experience and cash reserves, the professional inspector may become less important for every deal.

@Kristi Patton I have only hired an inspector once.  My first 15 to 20 years of investing I was partnered with a person who worked construction and I just took it for granted.  Now I look very hard at wiring, foundations, any signs of sagging in the roof, any signs of water damage to ceilings, soft areas around toilets or showers, etc.  Do not scrimp on the inspections.  Like @Jonathan Towell said, get them under contract with an inspection period.  Imagine what would have happened if you had not gotten an inspection on the last 2 houses.  Keep in mind all houses will have some issues.  I have not bought a house that did not have lead paint in 20 years.  Keep in mind what is huge and what is just old and outdated.  Hang in there, the right deal will come.

Another option would be to develop a relationship with a home inspector and have them come to inspect the house, but instead of having a full inspection, rather just focus on the main components and structure and forego the written report and just take your own notes while walking around with the inspector. This way, the inspector wont be spending as long at the property and doesnt need to spend time preparing a report and can perhaps give you a big break on the price.

Thanks guys for all of your input! @Barry Cohen that is exactly what I was hoping to do!!!

I have a message into the inspector that did the two houses to see if he could do exactly that!

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