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Should you Ever waive a Home Inspection Contingency?

The risks of waiving a home inspection

A home inspection is something that protects your financial interest in what could be the largest purchase you will ever make in your life, one in which you need as much information as possible. For example, learning that a home needs repairs costing $30,000 or more could change your mind about wanting to buy it, or the amount you’re willing to spend.

Considering the health and safety of your family is also important. Home inspections can and usually do uncover potentially hazardous items in a home—such as bad wiring, unsafe heating or cooling equipment, or even structural issues—that the average person won’t likely notice with a quick look around. Electrical issues are found in over 80% of home inspections and are often negotiated to be taken care of by the seller due to the safety concerns.

A home inspection “is a few hundred dollars for your peace of mind,” says Jean Rosalia, a residential and commercial real estate agent based in Virginia Beach, VA. “As opposed to maybe tens of thousands of dollars down the road for something that you could not detect on your own.” -

Waive the contingency, but not the inspection

The home inspection contingency, however, is a bit of legalese that gives a buyer a way out of a deal.

In today’s super-competitive market, buyers are making their offers stand out by agreeing to ignore minor issues. Rather than skipping inspection entirely, though, savvy bidders are modifying the language in their offers, says Katie Severance, an agent with Douglas Elliman. For instance, you might still conduct an inspection but promise the seller that you’ll overlook any single repair that would cost at less than $500 to fix. Or you might specify that you’re looking only for major issues such as mold, radon or major foundation issues.\

“The buyer hopes to send the message to the seller that they’re not going to nickel-and-dime them,” says Severance, author of “The Brilliant Home Buyer: 101 Tips for Buying a Home in the New Economy.”

If you do waive the inspection contingency, you still should reserve the right to conduct an inspection for the purposes of gathering information, Severance says. And even if you’ve agreed that your offer is not contingent on an inspection, a serious defect in the home might let you off the hook. For instance, the presence of mold in a home would give the buyer legal cause to back out of the deal, even if you’ve waived the home inspection contingency. -

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