Home Buying in Milwaukee>Question Details

Pete, Home Buyer in Milwaukee, WI

Can I request a home inspection before making an offer?

Asked by Pete, Milwaukee, WI Thu Apr 16, 2009

I am interested in a high-end property being sold AS-IS. Are there any restrictions stopping me from requesting a home inspection before making an offer? Based on what is found, I can adjust my offer. I rather spend $400 in an inspection rather than making an offer and have no ability to adjust the price (since is being sold "as-is")

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Ricehouse makes some great points. However, you are required to provide a written copy of the inspection to the seller if you are objecting on the basis of that inspection. And in the event the seller chooses not to sell to you and/or you decide not to buy, then the seller does have a copy of the inspection.

The upside is that if the defects that are found in the inspection are not repaired, there is a good chance that nobody else will want the home either and once the seller is made aware, they are required to disclose to any future buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2012
Honestly now, what's up with all these answers that fall way off the mark?! And honestly, how can bluewickedburner's answer be the highest rated? It falls way short off of the truth. If you're truly looking for the best answer, Kristin Noll's answer hits the mark closest.

I've been on the purchasing end of roughly a dozen homes. They all follow a similar process.

1) Look for a home till you find one that you would like to buy

2) Place offer on home with a few contingencies (Home Inspection is definitely 1 of them)

3)Seller accepts, counters, or rejects your offer

NOTE: Once seller accepts your offer (or you accept their counter), all other offers are typically rejected. It's important to also note that you are now starting 1-on-1 negotiations with the seller, not ending them.

4) Pay for a Home Inspection. It's money much better spent than having a handyman or renovation expert, whom will absolutely claim no liability if their opinion is "FAIL". A home inspection comes with an inspector (whom can be held liable) should a major defect (or a few minor ones) in the home goes undetected.

5) If the home inspector finds flaws that weren't disclosed by the seller (or more accurately "when the home inspector...") You are able to ADJUST your offer or outright rescind it.

NOTE: Since you are in 1-on-1 talks with the seller. It's not very likely that the seller will reject your ADJUSTED OFFER unless it's an unreasonable one. The seller typically wants to sell their house and very likely isn't in the mood to re-list their property again.

Although bluewickedburner's answer suggests that the seller has the upper-hand at this stage. He's not spot-on, he's spot-wrong! Yes, buyers have emotions; but it's more important to note that the seller has emotions too!

If a seller is selling a home, they are moving into another home, selling a relative's home, or selling an investment property. Their motivations for selling are likely stronger than your buying motivation. In fact, if the seller is buying another home (their motivation is to avoid 2 mortgages); if the seller is selling a relative's home (their motivation might be inheritance distribution); if the seller is selling an income property, well - this might be were the seller has the upper-hand motivation-wise.

When you honestly think of it, the seller's wants to sell their home and they're competing with all the other homes that are out on the market. Since the seller is selling their home, they likely haven't seen their competition, they've only been informed by their realtor; meaning they are not likely to know exactly how well their home stands out from the others.

As the buyer, you've definitely seen the competition and honestly the buyer likely has a "plan B" all lined up already should things fail with "plan A".

P.S. It's nowhere close to being true that if you have an inspection done on a home that you're giving the seller a FREE HOME INSPECTION. For one, the seller will not receive a copy of the home inspection you had performed unless you hand it over to the seller yourself! However, it will be helpful in your serious negotiations with the seller to provide him a glimpse of it while noting the flaws that you are basing your ADJUSTED OFFER on.

Getting back to the process now
1) Find a house
2) Make an offer
3) Seller accepts offer
4) Spend $400 and perform inspection
5) Make adjusted offer and save thousands more that your 1st offer!!
6) Seller accepts adjusted offer!
7) WIN-WIN for everyone!!
8) In the end, you also have piece-of-mind knowing that you're likely moving into a home without major defects. You also have recourse and can also sue the home inspector and/or seller if you find any severe flaws and should have been disclosed by the seller or missed by the inspector.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 26, 2012
The answer was top rated because unlike so many, there is common sense.
Why on earth would anyone spend $400 for a home inspection after an offer is accepted when they can conduct a walk though inspection with a qualified and licensed contractor beforehand and know if they should even bother? Are you so anxious to put $400 into someone else's pocket?

Futhermore and oftentimes, a seller will not adjust their price. Now what? Next, what recourse? Read any home inspection and the clauses put in almost guarantee that you have no recourse. First, home inspections are not invasive, if they can't see it without moving even a chair, they don't put it in the report. A room could have dryrot and mold and the inspector would never see it because the seller has belongs against the wall. Inspectors almost always put in a "need further evaluation" clause too. No one has yet proved the harm in a pre-offer inspection. So many though are eager to avoid it, follow the money.
Flag Mon Nov 26, 2012
Hold on just a minute. You don't need to pay for a pre-offer home inspection. You can have a contractor that does typical remodeling, renovating and such perform a pre-offer home inspection, often for no money at all.

Think about this carefully. Some say there is no benefit to spending money on the inspection since the offer might not be accepted. Fine if you have to pay for it but in most cases you can get this for no cost to you. Furthermore, the seller really can't refuse since all you are doing is looking around, as any prudent buyer should do before making an offer.

Next, why go through all the effort of making an offer on a house that someone knowledgeable can tell you isn't worth any amount you can offer? Are you in such a hurry to throw away money?

For any other large purchase, don't you find out everything BEFORE offering to buy? Sure you do but somehow, for a house, everyone wants to part you from money first.

Buyers are being relegated to a revenue source with virtually no control over the home buying process and that needs to change. Why are things like this? Inflated ideas of where the money comes from. It comes from the buyer and goes to other people so take charge of how that happens.

Why would you want to spend hundreds of dollars on a home inspection when someone knowledgeable can tell you that there are serious problems before you spend a single penny? Why is there such an urgency to part you and your money?

Read the reasons listed in the answers. Where is your benefit in not having it inspected before an offer? Oh, you might lower you offer and not get the house? It is better that you pay more through ignorance and get the house?

It is past time that buyers get ahead of the curve on the purchase process. Go ahead and talk to some home repair/rennovation/remodeling specialists and tell them what you want to do. You'll find that in almost all cases one of them will gladly accompany you on a walk-through inspection, getting down to knee and floor level to check things. They will know the difference between a small leak under a kitchen sink and one where it is probable that you have underlayment or subfloor problems.

In the hands of a professional, a flashlight and good eyes can help you make the decision on offering at all. To make an offer, in lots of cases you're going to present pre-approval letter, proof of downpayment, lots of other information and how much you want to pay. Yes, you can inspect AFTERWARD but in what transaction on earth do we do this except when buying a home? No one in their right mind offers to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without knowing if the offer should even be made.

If nothing else, this next tidbit ought to give you pause. You offer on a house. Then after acceptance you start having the inspections. Now after the offer is accepted, you get happy. Why? Human nature. You get happy, your wife starts planning where things go and how to make a home. You start to become emotionally invested, it happens. Guess what? Everyone else, the seller, the seller agent, and YOUR buyer agent know this too. The deeper you get into the deal the more difficult it is to disengage emotionally and the more likely you are to accept things as is. So you spend hundreds and even more than a thousand or two, depending on the inspections needed. Then you find out bad news and the seller won't budge. You back out. Yes, you can always try to negotiate the price down, even for "as-is" sales but why even go there for obvious major issues that would stop you from buying no matter what?

Are you going to get that money back you paid for inspections? Heck no! You just gave the seller all those inspections for nothing and everyone put some money into their pockets except you.

Again, a walk-though type inspection isn't the end-all nor completely definitive but it can sure help you from making a big and costly mistake. Funny how everyone want to separate you from your money so quickly isn't it?

Run away from people who seem to be in a hurry to get you to offer first and find out later. Later always means YOU spending money. Always.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
In any negotiation, it is harder to retract from a number given than to move up from one unknown. In other words, once you've made an offer, even if that house shows serious deficiencies, many times a buyer becomes emotionally attached and loses the advantage in the process.

No one yet has shown a reason why you should not have a pre-offer inspection, especially if it costs you nothing but they sure are quick to get you to spend money and follow the status quo. Like I've said before, lots of people are waiting to separate you from your money.

Most home inspections are boilerplate forms and rarely are more than a look around. The owner simply leaves a box on the floor in the corner covering a serious defect and they will not move it to inspect. That is a fact and you can see this by ready any inspection report that contains all of the "further evaluation needed" statements that insure the inspector isn't liable for anything not in plain view. Come on folks, take charge of your buy.
Flag Mon Nov 26, 2012
Thank you everyone for the answers. It completely changed my mind about having an inspection done before the seeler accepts our offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 20, 2009
I suggest that you make the offer first if get excepted then have the inspection it costs you money
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 17, 2009
Yes you can, though most people don't want to spend the money if they can't get the house. Just because it is being sold As-Is, doesn't mean you can't renegotiate after having an inspection. My advice would be to get your offer accecpted first and then do you inspection.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 17, 2009
This simple answer is, just because it is being sold "as is" doesn't mean you can't write an offer with a home inspection contingency. Don't confuse two seperate issues. It just means that the seller has no intention of making any repairs.

Why pay $400-$500 (larger properties can run more) before you even know if the seller will accept your offer? What if you have the inspection and they reject your offer outright? Huge waste of money.

Just write an offer contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection. If significant defects are found, you will have the option to walk away or request a reduction in price from the seller/bank.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
Based on what I read above I think you got your answers Pete. From a home inspectors point yes, we can inspect the home before the offer but we must have permission from the seller, owner, bank, etc. to do the inspection and be on the property. I have done a few of these recently as we seem to be in a much different market than in the past. Some have gone well, others have not. One Client did use the report to basically "Devalue the property" and included the issues with approximate costs with his devalued offer.........Despite all the efforts he lost the deal. Another had me go through ahead of the offer and the house had so many issues that she backed out of even writing an offer. Keep in mind a home being sold "As Is" may already be at the "adjusted price" as they may know what the issues are. Still always wise to have a home inspection no matter what.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
Assuming here this is a short sale or REO? If it is a short sale, it might actually work in your best interest - but find out first how the listing agent plans to deal with offers. Will they ratify only one and send it to the bank for approval? Or, will they send 20 offers to the bank? If it is the latter, I wouldn't even bid. If it is the former, the offer should be submitted hand in hand with the inspection - assuming it supports your price. There are many OTHER risks to short sales... so know what you're dealing with before you go in. If it's an REO, you always have the option to wait until you're ratified and build in the inspection. You could basically "withdraw" your offer and make another one along with it - essentially letting the bank know if they won't adjust the price you're walking. If you do the inspection first, you run the risk of someone else running in and putting in an offer before you can get your inspection done. Yes, we are seeing multiple offers in some markets.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
You can always ask but there is no benefit to a home owner to allow an inspection without any type of commitment from you (like an accepted offer). If a home is being sold as-is that doesn't mean you can't adjust the price or ask to have something repaired by the seller at seller's cost after acceptance. I have written offers especially recently in this buyers market that have said there home is being sold as-is where the seller has agreed to fix something or have offered a credit for the cost. Unless you sign some sort of hold harmless agreement with the seller, as-is means nothing. Sellers are motivated in this heavy buyers market and if something is going to kill a deal or disclose something that they would have to disclose to another buyer later they will give you a cost credit or fix something. Good Luck. Dave Eyrise, Realty Executives Integrity 262-901-0801
Web Reference: http://www.daveyrise.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
Yes, you can ask, but the seller can also say no. A client I have did just that. It was a wise move as he adjusted his offer price based on that inspection. The offer was excepted.
Web Reference: http://www.thepollyblog.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
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