In a seller’s market, where offers are made with no ‘subject to’ conditions and with multiple bidders, where does a home inspection fit in? For many buyers, it's just ommitted and forgotten as they see no way to include it and still make to deal. Since the buyer is in a competition for a property, caution is not easily exercised as getting into the market before valuations increase further is the prime motivation.
However here are some tips for prudent buyers to consider.
Offers with no ‘subject to’ conditions. First, partner with a home inspector, who will be available on short notice. Second, the inspector accompanies you to the open house for a limited opinion. Third, the inspection and report is completed after possession. Note that the home inspection industry is regulated by association and government requirements. A home inspection cannot be performed to standards on a walk-through only. However an initial viewing followed-up by a home inspection at a later date is acceptable.
Offers with option for a ‘subject to home inspection’. Beforehand, partner with a home inspector, who will be available on short notice. On the real estate contract, reduce the time period for the inspection. In a buyer’s market, two or more weeks for a home inspection is typical. In a seller’s market, this can be shortened to days and certainly less than a week, to make this condition less restrictive to the seller.
Remember that the benefits of a home inspection – knowledge of major issues that will require budgeting, understanding the factors that will affect the comfort of the inhabitants and being made aware of safety issues that need to be corrected - are equally relevant, regardless if the inspection is performed before or after closing.