House hunting is an exhilarating time! Touring potential homes and contemplating how they will work for your family’s needs is exciting. Sometimes the perfect home is one that was previously under contract with another buyer but just recently came back on the market. There are many reasons a home can fall out of contract—some have nothing to do with the home itself. During the contingency period, buyers can back out and cancel their offer for almost any reason- or even no reason at all! When it comes to choosing a home that returns to the market, there is no reason to shy away! In fact it may be an incredible opportunity to jump on a home that was previously not available.
When a contract falls through, the seller and listing agent will be motivated to get the home back on the market and under contract quickly. One common tactic they may use is to offer a previous buyer’s home inspection, meaning you won’t need to hire and pay for an inspection of your home. Sounds great, right? You get the home you wanted, and you won’t need to deal with the inspection process.
The reality is that it isn’t that simple, and it may not be the right move. Inspections are a part of the purchasing process to protect the buyer from investing in a property that may have serious underlying issues. In the case of using a previous buyer’s inspection report, the seller may include a contingency that waives your opportunity to hire an inspector of your own. That means you really need to trust the existing report. Thankfully, there are some ways you can make the most of that existing report before you move forward and start signing papers.
- Before accepting the inspection, do your research. Who did the inspection? Is it a reputable, licensed home inspector? Consumer Reports has put together this guide on how to research the credentials of home inspectors, including a list of third party review websites you can use to check out the contractor. Don’t forget to check public review sites like Google for comments and customer satisfaction. Check their license with the issuing board and see if they have had any violations or suspensions.
- Once you verify the company, give them a call. Make sure they have performed a comprehensive inspection. Many companies offer both a comprehensive and a simpler, cheaper, visual inspection. A forthcoming company or independent inspector can help build confidence in their work.
- Carefully read the report and compare it to what you’ve seen in your own tour of the property. If possible, work with a family member or friend who has an understanding of home inspections or building codes. The more information you have available, the easier it will be for you to identify if the inspection report you’ve been given is thorough and honest.
- Don’t be afraid to get back in touch with the inspector. Go over any concerns and questions you have regarding their report and what you saw in person. If possible, ask the inspector to meet you at the home to discuss the report in person.
Accepting the home inspection might seem like a good idea – both to make your offer more appealing to the seller and to save some money – but before you remove the home inspection contingency, be sure to do your due diligence. There are many resources out there that can help you do just that.