PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The competition for homes in the Valley is fierce, and buyers are making ultra-aggressive offers to land their dream homes. Some are even waiving inspections. While that might be attractive to sellers, it could be a financial disaster for buyers.
When Tracy Andrews conducts a home inspection, he evaluates the little stuff. “We look at ceiling fans, door handles, and we test all of the appliances,” he said. But he noted the big stuff, the foundation, the roof, electrical, and plumbing, is why it’s critical to get a good home inspection.
“A leak under a sink isn’t going to stop you from buying a home, but we do find major foundation issues where the house is leaning,” Andrews told 3 On Your Side. “We find the air conditioning is not working. We find roofs with holes in them.” It seems like stuff you’d want to know before sinking your hard-earned money into a property, but in this ultra-competitive housing market, some buyers are choosing to waive their right to a home inspection to try to get the deal done.
“The only time that waiving an inspection altogether would make sense is if you have an obscene amount of track record in real estate, if while you’re going through the property, you’re actually inspecting it, or if you’re going to be gutting it anyway,” said Kelly Henderson, a Phoenix-based real estate agent. A better option, according to Henderson, is writing an “as is” offer. Buyers remain competitive while still retaining the right to learn about the property.
“The problem with this market is that the seller doesn’t have to make any repairs,” Henderson said. “That’s why ‘as is’ is a really happy medium between waiving the inspection altogether and finding yourself in this position where now you have the information. What you decide to do with that — moving forward or canceling — is on you.”
To get the most out of your home inspection, look for a license. Home inspectors in Arizona have to be licensed. Before you hire somebody, make sure they are properly registered with the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration. You can also look for disciplinary actions against a person or firm. Once you have your inspector, be prepared to ask questions. “Make sure the list of what we inspect is large and inclusive, and then [ask if they] offer other inspections such as termite, pool, mold,” Andrews suggested.
Older homes may need more specialized inspections. “Sewer scopes are a big thing I recommend for ‘80s and older,” he added. “We’ve done sewer scopes, which is where we go down into the main sewer line with a camera, and find it’s collapsed or roots are coming in. They would have never known because the toilets flushed and the sinks drained.”
When the inspection is over, you may get a report that’s pages long, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Even if they are $5 to repair, we feel like the client would like to know about every little thing,” Andrews said.
Typical home inspections can take anywhere from two to five hours, depending on the size of the home. The Better Business Bureau says if you are able, you should be at the inspection, so you can see everything the home inspector is uncovering, rather than waiting for the written report. By law, sellers do have to make disclosures about the property.
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