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Buying in Hot Markets: How Pre-Offer Inspections can Help

Are you shopping for a home in a seller’s market – where homes are getting multiple bids and selling rapidly? Short of offering more than a home’s asking price or waiving common contingencies like an inspection, it may feel like there’s little you can do to stand out as a buyer and convince the seller to offer you the home you want. However, there is a way to secure both a home inspection and make a compelling offer to a buyer: a pre-offer inspection*. Ask your real estate agent if such inspections are allowed in your community, then contact your nearest WIN office about arranging one. Here’s why they help.

Pre-offer inspections help you compete in hot markets

In markets where homes are selling rapidly, many buyers try to appeal to sellers by waiving the home inspection contingency in their offer. A pre-offer inspection can help a buyer facing a hot market write what’s known as a “clean” offer, waiving the inspection that would typically take place while the home is in contract but knowing enough about the property from the pre-offer inspection to make an informed decision about buying it.

Pre-offer inspections help you learn about a home before you enter contract

In most home sales contracts, the home inspection presents uncertainty for both buyer and seller. For the buyer, the inspection might reveal unforeseen defects or required repairs which can become grounds for the buyer to back out of the purchase. For the seller, defects or issues raised by the inspection may lead to the buyer renegotiating on price, demanding seller-performed repairs before closing at the offer price, or walking away from the purchase. Buyers who make a pre-offer inspection remove this uncertainty factor from the process because they know about the home’s general condition before they make an offer.

Pre-offer inspections appeal to sellers

In many markets, pre-offer inspections require seller permission. But many sellers are willing to allow them for a few reasons. First of all, a pre-offer inspection takes place before the home goes under contract, meaning the seller’s home can remain on the market and on view for other buyers while the pre-offer inspection takes place. This means that if a buyer makes a pre-offer inspection and decides against the purchase, the seller won’t lose any time marketing the property because pre-offer inspections don’t tie up a home’s availability, as do regular inspections which take place after an offer is made and while the home is in contract. Finally, sales involving a pre-offer inspection may close in a shorter amount of time since buyers who make such bids can waive the time usually allotted for inspection from the closing schedule.

*Not available in all locations or states. Contact your local WIN office for details.