Pre-Inspections: Are They Back?

In today’s market, we’re seeing a lot of multiple offer situations. In fact, over the past few weeks, about a third of all the properties are selling with multiple offers submitted. So one trend we’re seeing pop up again is a pre-inspection. What is that? What does it mean?

What is a pre-inspection?
A pre-inspection is a home inspection done on a property before a contract is accepted (or often submitted).  You need permission to complete one from the owner, but it’s just like a regular home inspection, just completed prior to contract ratification.

What are the advantages of a pre-inspection?
You’ll find out the condition of the property ahead of time, meaning you can factor repair costs into your offer price and/or find out if there are any deal breakers. Additionally, you’ll write a non-contingent offer for the seller, making your contract more attractive and less risky to a seller.

What are the disadvantages of a pre-inspection?
You’ll spend the money upfront without the guarantee that you’ll be the winning bidder on the property. If you find a deal breaker, and you had a ratified contract, you would have been out the cost of the inspection anyway, but at least you knew you were the only buyer.

Should I do one?
That’s a strategic decision based on individual circumstances. Consider this: how badly do you want the house? If there are multiple offers, are you willing to spend the $400+ on an inspection to make a stronger offer? If you’re not that excited about it anyway, maybe it’s not worth the cash to you. Talk to your agent about what you think you should do.

I’ve heard of a few circumstances where people have been doing pre-inspections, although none of my clients have had to do one yet in order to compete. I’m seeing it happen more in DC than Arlington, but that can always change!