Anyone buying a short sale is faced with this dilemma; should the home inspection be performed before or after the offer is approved?
Risk Wasting Money: If a buyer decides to have a home inspection before the offer is approved by the bank, the buyer risks wasting their money on the home inspection if the sale doesn't get approved by the bank. The benefit of having a home inspection performed right away, before the purchase agreement is approved, is that the buyer will be warned about any potential 'show stoppers' with the house up front.
Risk Wasting Time: If a buyer decides to wait until the sale gets approved to have a home inspection performed, they risk waiting around for months only to find out about a major defect with the home.
Personally, I'd get the home inspection done immediately every time; I couldn't imagine getting emotionally attached to a home for months and then finding out that it has major defects... but I've worked with many buyers who prefer that method.
What if you could lower your risk of both? I was recently asked by a real estate agent if we would consider doing two-part inspections. These would consist of a quick 30-45 minute walk-through to look for any major issues or show stoppers, then a full inspection several weeks or months later, after the sale gets approved.
I think this is a great idea, and we're happy to do this. This gives the buyer the opportunity to find out about any major defects at a price that's a fraction of the price of a home inspection. We'll offer the buyer a discounted rate on the second inspection, but only as a gesture of goodwill; just because we walked through the house a few months earlier doesn't mean the home inspection will be any easier or faster the second time.
How useful is a forty-five minute walk-through? It's a great way to check for any show-stoppers early on in the process. I have several clients that hire me to do these inspections for them on a regular basis. They're mostly investors that aren't concerned with the little details - just the big stuff. Occasionally, I'll perform these walk-throughs for home buyers who know the home they're buying needs major repairs. Walk-throughs make more sense than standard home inspections in many situations.
If you don't want a full report or a super-detailed inspection, just ask. We're happy to provide a-la-carte home inspections, or even just walk-throughs.
Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections