Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


Home Inspection Dilemma With Short Sales: Should You Risk Wasting Time or Money?


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


Comment balloon 10 commentsReuben Saltzman • November 23 2010 06:08AM


Thanks Reuben, well if your client knows nothing about property ( its better than nothing ) its another pair of Eyes.


Nor Yeretsian

Posted by Nor Yeretsian, Envoy Capitol Realty Inc., Brokerage Toronto (Envoy Capitol Realty Inc.) about 8 years ago

This is a dilemma which will not go away any time soon!  Good plan though Reubs!  I like it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

Reuben, I have done lots of inspections this way.  If we get to the second inspection it ends up costing the buyer a little more----but they save a whole lot if the deal goes south.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Makes sense. Around here most everyone waits until bank approval, which can sometimes be months, before doing a home inspection.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

Nor - absolutely.  It mean even mean a walk on the roof, a crawl through the attic, and whatever else seems to be begging for attention.

Jay - I think this will be a popular choice.

Charles - if I were buying a house, I would gladly pay the extra bit of money.

James - I couldn't imagine doing that.  After waiting for several months, you're basically 'all in'.  It would be so much better to find out about this stuff early on in the process.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

With just 36 days left in 2010, Zoey the Cool Cat and I just wanted to stop by and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Hope it’s a great one, with lots of fun and food with family and friends!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Not a real person about 8 years ago

Thanks Russell, and the same to you and Zoey.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Reuben - It is a GREAT idea!  I have a type of inspection called a WALK (stole that from our friend Russel) designed for investors or people who are looking at distressed properties, short sales or foreclosures.  I charge by the home (usually somewhere between $59-99 depending on the size and expected condition), and then deduct that fee from the full inspection if the buyers hire me for the full inspection.  I have done somewhere around 30 or 40 of them - 5 of which resulted in full inspections.  All were for people who were new to town, and didn't have a handy frend or relative to eyeball palces for them.

I stopped marketing them because I got too busy, but will soon be ramping it back up.  Good post!!

Posted by Joseph Michalski, PA Home Inspector (Precision Home Inspection) about 8 years ago

PS - I suspect that you are dead on about poster #87 on my Realtor-Inspector blog.  Sounds just like the guy I am talking about.....

Posted by Joseph Michalski, PA Home Inspector (Precision Home Inspection) about 8 years ago

Home Inspector Licensing in my state would prohibit such inspections.  Any buiding inspection looking at 3 or more systems is required to have written report and meet the state standards for a home inspection. 

I have heard of inspectors performing a Walk & Talk.  No report, no photos, just a 45-1hr walk through of a property looking for big concerns.  As a general contractor I could say I preparing a bid for repair instead of a home inspection because tradespeople are not inspecting, they are bidding.  It seems a like cheating the law to perform a Walk&Talk. 

I can see where a savy investor would prefer a Walk&Talk at a reduced price.  But this kind of inspection would not be for a first time buyer.  I understand the money in the hand now for an incomplete inspection vs. potentially no money for a full inspection.  I just wonder if as an industry wer are short selling our services performing Walk&Talks?

Posted by Bruce Ramsey (Advocate Inspections) about 8 years ago