By Darin Windham, Realtor
Key Finders Group RE/Max Alliance
Home inspections can make or break the decision to buy a house. They can unearth structural and equipment problems, roof issues, faulty mechanical systems and other serious defects.
Yet a hot real estate market, particularly a seller’s market, has left many prospective home buyers passing up the opportunity to reveal such flaws. In fact, 27 percent of buyers waived inspections in July, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Many realtors have never seen a market like this. Today’s home buyers are faced with a low inventory of homes, multiple competing offers and bidding wars that are driving up prices to record levels — especially in popular urban areas and adjacent suburbs. And with our city of Huntsville, AL recently voted as the #1 place to live by U.S. News and World Report, we won’t see the real estate market “cooling off” anytime soon.
High demand for housing continues to be driven by factors such as millennials entering the market, and the effect of COVID-19, according to Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors. Pandemic living and remote work is spurring people to change locations.
When it comes to home inspections and the possibility of opting out, home buyers have advantages — or disadvantages — and this could depend upon which state they live in.
Alabama, for example, is one of a few states that still follows a legal doctrine known as “caveat emptor,” a Latin phrase translated as “let the buyer beware.” This means that a seller is not legally required to disclose most property flaws, only known material defects, making such a big financial investment without an inspection particularly risky.
That said, waiving a home inspection makes an offer more attractive to sellers. (It is a seller’s market, after all.) With multiple buyers vying for a property, the fewer an offer’s hassles, the more likely it is to rise to the top of the heap.
And just because you waive a full inspection doesn’t mean you can’t get a pre-offer inspection, which might cost less than a full inspection, but still possibly alert you to a potential problem.
The bottom-line concerning home inspections in our current real estate market is this: “You have to be careful because you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars. Once you own the house, you own it. You can’t give it back.”
So, consult with your realtor, and do your due diligence concerning a home inspection. You want to feel good about your new home purchase!
Darin can be contacted at 256-652-9032 or email@example.com
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