Will a Home Inspection Clause Disqualify my Offer?

Most buyers today generally accept the value of a home inspection.  This is especially true with many of the older homes in some of Toronto's established neighbourhoods.  A recent Huffington Post article reminds us of some of the areas an inspector typically examines and there are many sub-areas of specialty including termites and old wiring.

For between $300 and $500 on average, buyers can have an expert set of eyes examine their prospective home or sellers can obtain a pre-listing inspection as an added value feature to entice buyers.  So, what happens when a buyers is competing against multiple offers and the seller's agent is asking for "clean" offers (without conditions) only?

Only the buyer can make this decision.  I've seen buyers fall in love with a house and ignore the odd problem uncovered in a home inspection.  In fact, I typically remind buyers that in my experience, a home inspector always finds something... even if it's small, since no house is perfect.  On the other hand, there is something to be said for entering into the largest purchase of your life with open eyes and an awareness of major repairs that may arise.  Indeed, an inspection is not a guarantee and sometimes there are issues that cannot be examined due to access, time of year etc. but my concern for buyers who ignore this step is that they may wonder "what if..." down the road.

For buyers who are worried about forgoing an inspection in order to make their offer more attractive, I remind them that it is their choice and leave them with the options:

They may waive the inspection entirely (I don't advise this) and hire an inspector once they move in to give them some awareness of any upcoming repairs or preventative maintenance.

They may request a copy of the pre-listing inspection (if there is one) and allow their own inspector or contractor to read through it.

They may ask the seller permission to pay for an inspection prior to submitting an offer.

OR, They may include an inspection clause in the offer with a short conditional time.  In this case, it is up to their agent to convey to the seller's the good intentions but fair concerns of the buyers and highlight the other attractive aspects of the offer.

I often ask my clients to imagine two different frames of mind when paying a roofing company to re-shingle the roof one year after moving in.  Would you rather be thinking: "Well, we knew we'd need to do this and we budgeted and considered it in the purchase price." or "I can't believe we're already spending more money!  I wonder if we would have bought this place if we had known we'd need to do this so soon."

In the end, the answer to the question in the title is a definite MAYBE... Many sellers would likely prefer to take a "sure thing" which in this case comes in the form of an offer without conditions.  A buyer who insists on an inspection may not get the house but I'm a believer that you'll never know if you don't try.

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