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These Real-Life Horror Stories of Buyers Waiving Home Inspections Will Make You Think Twice

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The real estate market might be showing signs it’s cooling off, but 1 in 4 buyers is still choosing to waive a home inspection, according to the latest numbers from the National Association of Realtors®. It has become a common tactic lately. In most cases, buyers choose to waive a home inspection to make their offer more enticing—and the process more trouble-free—to sellers.

But is it really worth the risk to you to waive a home inspection?

A home inspection is conducted by a third party who has the training and certification to assess a home from the foundation to the eaves. This visual assessment is designed to flag flaws in the physical structure and mechanical systems of the home, including major appliances, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, and electrics. If you forgo this process altogether, you could be buying a money pit and setting yourself up for months (or years) of repairs.

So, before you decide to waive your home inspection, read up on these real-life horror stories from buyers who wish they’d chosen a different path.

Horror No. 1: Jerry-rigged wiring

Even seasoned real estate investors can make egregious miscalculations when buying a house without an inspection.

“When I started out as a real estate investor, I had to learn the hard way what not to overlook during inspections,” says Aaron Steeves, an investor and founder of We Buy MA Homes, based in Lunenberg, MA. “One deal seemed too good to say no to, and I knew the seller was facing challenging financial concerns and was motivated to sell. I bought the house at a below-market value thinking I had a great deal, but then when I went to replace some of the water-damaged cabinets, I noticed something funny.”

Inside the wall, behind the cabinet, Steeves found atypical wiring and a bright orange extension cord.

“I soon found that the seller had DIY’d much of the electrical system in the house with old extension cords, instead of proper wiring,” he says. “I ended up having to open all the walls and rewire everything, which spiraled into bringing the plumbing up to code as well.”

All told, Steeves says he spent $150,000 making the house right again. Perhaps it was not such a great deal after all.

Horror No. 2: Invisible issues

More and more buyers are lining up to buy homes as is and inspecting the home for potential flaws themselves. But depending on their own powers of observation, this can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in expenditures.

“Last year, we represented a buyer who wanted a ‘For Sale by Owner’ house,” says Kurt Grose, a real estate agent with Realty One Group in Las Vegas. “They agreed to buy it as is so they had a better chance of winning the bid. Instead of an inspection, they opted to test the home’s features themselves.”

Their inspection didn’t turn up any apparent problems. But it wasn’t until they celebrated the new home with bloody marys at the family room’s bar that they realized their amazing deal wasn’t so amazing.

“They dumped the remnants of the bloody marys down the bar sink, and then noticed a red liquid on the patio at the side of the house,” Grose says. “Two days passed, and a torrential summer rain flooded three rooms. Turns out, there was a roof leak and there was a porch enclosed illegally, which caused a roof valley that never drained. When they were fixing the roof, a cut truss was discovered in the attic.”

The repairs to the roof, damaged baseboards, drywall, and flooring cost more than $40,000. And that didn’t include the plumbing repairs to the sink—where the drain was nothing but a pipe through a wall to the patio.

Horror No. 3: A foul odor

Baking cookies and putting out flowers to entice potential buyers with fresh and delicious smells is a tried-and-true tactic of home sellers everywhere. Occasionally though, there might be a darker motive afoot.

“My wife and I were so excited to move into our first home,” says Jeremy Luebke, founder of real estate investment firm WeLoveLand in Dallas. “One of the things we were most looking forward to was being able to paint the walls and put up pictures. We didn’t want to wait, so we waived the home inspection.”

Soon after moving in, Luebke and his wife noticed a strange smell. They aired out their home and cleaned the space from top to bottom.

“But the smell got worse,” Luebke says. “Eventually, we realized there was a dead animal in the walls. It must have died before the previous owner left, and they just covered up the smell with air fresheners. We had to rip out the drywall. My advice is to never waive the inspection.”

Horror No. 4: Hasty headache

When buying a house sight unseen, buyers depend on photographic and video evidence of the house they’re purchasing. In this type of situation, some would think a home inspection is vital, but some homebuyers roll the dice and opt to waive the inspection.

For Rashard Alomari, founder and CEO of Fair Cash Deal in Cordova, TN, the gamble didn’t pay off. He was eager to win the bid, so he decided to waive the home inspection.

“The seemingly attractive condo was in an excellent location, and all of the pictures online looked amazing,” Alomari says. “But in person, the situation was very different. The shower handles were loose and severely corroded. The bathroom had an abundance of mildew on the walls and ceilings. The countertops were filled with stains and deep scratches.”

The nightmare continued, even as he says he couldn’t imagine anything else popping up.

“The poorly installed laminate flooring haunts me to this day. Water damage proved to be the main culprit, with mold forming on the living room walls as well. Plus, there were scratches and holes all over the walls, hidden behind furniture.”

Alomari admits to being blinded by his desperation to get into the unit.

“One of the worst condos in the location sold for almost triple its valuation,” he says. “My desperation cost me big-time though.”

The post These Real-Life Horror Stories of Buyers Waiving Home Inspections Will Make You Think Twice appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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