When buying a new home, there’s a lot more that goes into the process than just signing some forms and picking up the keys. One of the big steps that you’ll typically take is getting a home inspection to identify any potential issues with the property. While this is common, most of the time it’s not actually required; while lenders will generally insist on an appraisal of the home, this isn’t a full inspection. So does that mean you can skip getting an actual home inspection as a part of the home-buying process?
Technically, yes. Unless you live in an area where home inspections are legally required, you don’t have to get a home inspection before purchase. Should you skip a home inspection? Absolutely not. Having your home inspected serves a much greater purpose than just determining its value, and waiving the option to get an inspection done before purchase could set you up for a lot of trouble (and out-of-pocket expense) down the road.
What Is a Home Inspection?
Unlike an appraisal, which just examines a home to determine its value, a home inspection digs deeper and actually looks into the condition of the home and its components. While the exact coverage of the inspection can change depending on where you live, the type of home being inspected, and the scope of the inspection you’re having done, the goal of the inspection is to determine the condition of the house. This will ensure that the home is livable, and will also serve to highlight any repairs to the property that might be necessary. At the end of the inspection, you’ll be presented with an inspection report. Your inspection report will likely include items such as the condition of the roof, the windows, its plumbing and wiring, and other key issues with the property. This report will help you to make decisions about the house and can help you to budget in necessary repairs or upgrades when finalizing the amount of your home loan as well.
Why You Need an Inspection
There are a few reasons why you’ll want to be sure to get a home inspection. The biggest is to make sure that the home is actually in the condition that you think it is before buying it, so you avoid getting into the home and then having to sink in a lot of money into repairs after the fact. The home inspection can also help you to prioritize repair and upgrade plans, highlighting the areas that you need to focus on first. By getting a home inspection, you should be able to avoid a lot of the surprises that can sometimes come with a new home.
It’s important to note that some sellers might push for you to waive the home inspection process or at least limit it in scope. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have something to hide; in many cases this occurs when the seller is also looking to buy another property and is waiting on the property that they’re selling to close. Home inspections may take a little time to schedule and complete, which can slow down closing. Still, the importance of a home inspection is great enough that you shouldn’t waive your inspection even if the seller wants you to do so.