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Do we have to make an accepted offer before having an inspector come to a home?

  • December 08 2012 - Brooklyn
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Answers (8)

Profile picture for user7463891
Thank you all for the good advice.
  • December 10 2012
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Great question - and great answers from the group!

Here are my thoughts.  An accepted offer, with a contingency for inspection, clearly gives the Buyer the right to inspect, and confirms if the inspection will be "intrusive" or not.  "Intrusive" often includes pulling back carpet or drilling holes in sheet rock to look for moisture.  The Seller is giving consent to the inspection by signing the offer with the inspection contingency in place. 

There are many good answers here - but in the end, I would not spend the money on an inspection until you know you have an accepted offer from a willing Seller.  The other reason to not move forward without an accepted offer is the Seller, at least in Minnesota, has to "update" their disclosure report at the time of signing the purchase agreement, and that update could include valuable information that may change your opinion of the home or provide details you want your inspector to review as part of the inspection.  

Hope this helps!

  • December 10 2012
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Profile picture for RealEstateCrew
It will save you time coming to an agreement on price, prior to completing your inspections and if you do not know what the seller is willing to sale for, you may end up wasting money on the inspections.

Hope this helps,

Josh Barnett, Realtor
  • December 09 2012
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Profile picture for Shane Torres
I think it depends on the type of sale on home you are trying to buy. 

If it is a regular sale I would  recommend waiting until you have an agreement on price before paying for an inspection.

If it is a short sale I would recommend to do one before hand. 
  • December 09 2012
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I tried to give both Mark and Cindy thumbs up for their answers (won't add either for some reason). very good answers.
  • December 09 2012
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I agree with Mark and Cindy. Why would you pay for inspection on a property that you don't even know you'll be able to buy it?
And if you do have a reason to do it that way I guess the only thing stopping you would be the owner agreeing to allow you to do inspections on his home without a contract to purchase.
  • December 09 2012
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The short answer: If you're paying for it, it should be perfectly alright for you to have an inspector look at a home before you have made an accepted offer. That said, however, as a seller, I would not allow someone in my home to make an inspection UNLESS there were an accepted offer on the home AND the buyer had already put up some earnest money. What if the home inspector accidentally damages something during the inspection? Who's responsible? It's usually very unlikely that anything will go wrong but if it did, a lot of things could get very complicated very quickly. 

The longer answer: I agree with Ms. Quinton, below, that it's not a good idea to have & pay for an inspection before going under contract. Most states require a seller to disclose everything they know about a home and its systems. This property condition disclosure is usually a pretty good indicator or the condition of the home. Even though a property condition disclosure is required, there isn't a 100% guarantee, however, of the accuracy & validity of it, which is why it's a very good idea to have a home inspection.

Since every state's contract is different, it's always a good idea to engage a real estate professional as well as a real estate lawyer, if that's customary in your state. As a buyer, I think it's a good idea to find a real estate agent who is an Accredited Buyer's Agent or who specializes in working with buyers. An agent with an ABR designation has had extra training and experience specifically in working with & for the protection and advocacy of the buyer's interests. I think it could possibly be a good idea to write into the contract that it's contingent upon the buyer's review & approval of the inspection results. This is usually a foregone conclusion but writing it in can add just an extra level of protection for a buyer so that if something major is revealed by the inspection, it allows the buyer another opportunity outside of the usual contingencies to cancel the contract and get their earnest money back.

Good luck to you. I hope everything goes in your favor & you have a smooth transaction.
  • December 08 2012
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No, with the owner's permission, you could bring an inspector. But, I don't think it is in your best interest to pay for an inspection BEFORE you even know if you can come to a price agreement, unless you are going to offer full asking price. Most contracts have an inspection period where the offer is contingent on the home being as the buyer wants and believes it to be. If any additional issues turn up on inspection, one can renegotiate and or back out. 

And of course, real estate transactions vary widely in different areas. It could be customary for buyers to do inspections before offering in Brooklyn. 
  • December 08 2012
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