Buying a home or property can be a wonderful and exciting start to an all-new life. It can also be a decision rife with uncomfortable surprises, stress, and regret. There are numerous things that a potential home-buyer can do to help ensure that their property produces the first set of feelings (and, of course, there are things you can do to encourage the second set of feelings too… but why would you want to?) In particular, the timing of a home inspection can mean a world of difference when it comes to your experience as a home or building owner. 

The following will explore the pros and cons of having an inspection done before you make an offer on a property.

First Off, What Is A Pre-Offer Inspection?

An inspection is when a professional is paid to come and look at a house or property to make sure that everything is up to code and there aren’t any unknown surprises lurking for the future homeowner to discover in the first few months in their new home (like termites, for example). Typically an inspection will present you with a report summarizing the inspection results. A pre-offer inspection is when this inspection is done before an offer is placed on the property. It can be contrasted with an offer that has an inspection clause. In that situation, an offer would be made, but include the condition that an inspection needs to be done, and that the offer will be rescinded if something troubling was discovered.

Pro: You Might Learn Important Things

This is the most obvious pro when thinking about a pre-offer inspection. You might find out that something is going on with the property that you don’t want to deal with. Maybe you don’t want a home with structural issues. Maybe you don’t feel like replacing the roof. Maybe you don’t feel like hiring an exterminator. All of these troubles can be avoided if you know ahead of time the problems that the property has.

Con: The Property Might Be Sold To Someone Else

Without an offer on the table to keep the seller’s focus on you, there is the chance that in the time it takes for you to sort out an inspection, that someone else comes along and buys the property. If the property is in an especially desirous neighborhood or town, this could become more likely to happen.

Pro: If You Do Make An Offer You Don’t Need An Inspection Clause

Most offers for homes or properties contain an inspection clause, whereby the deal will only be held to if an inspection is done and discovers no nasty surprises. This could very well mean that you will have access to the new house sooner after your offer is accepted.

Con: You Still Might Not Strike A Deal

Even with all the additional information provided by a pre-offer inspection, it’s completely possible that you and the seller won’t be able to come to an agreement that works for you. Information is an important part of buying a home, but it’s just that, one part. Negotiation plays a big role too.

Pro: You’ll Be Able To Offer A More Accurate Price

Let’s say your pre-offer inspection discovers a problem, something that you weren’t aware of before you considered buying the place. Let’s say that you’ve thought about it and you’ve decided you still want the house, even though a little extra work is required. You might be able to use this information to get a better price. Alternatively, let’s say there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the home. You’ll at least know that you’re getting your money’s worth when you put in an offer.

How Do You Go About Getting A Pre-Offer Inspection?

So you’ve decided that you want to go ahead with the idea of a pre-offer inspection, but you have no idea where to begin. One of the first things you should do is reach out to a few inspectors in the area of the property. If, for example, you’re trying to secure a property in Adelaide, Australia, you probably want to be looking for building and pest inspection Adelaide. Hiring someone local can be really important, as these individuals might have specific knowledge related to the area, like the common history of the homes and the typical problems that buildings constructed in a certain area have. They might be able to tell you that the basement is going to flood in the spring or that the house isn’t proofed properly for the winter in that location. 

Besides locality, you want to speak to more than one inspector (ideally three). Take a look at their website, ask to speak to some of their references, and review the contracts available for their prices. It’s always good to know what your options are, especially when it’s related to something as important as purchasing a property.

As a side note, as with everything else, there are additional considerations regarding home inspections and coronavirus. It is also possible that a homeowner might be more skeptical of an inspection as they are not comfortable having a stranger walking through their home and touching all their stuff right now. Legal precedents are currently being set across the globe in this regard. Be prepared for inspections to take a little more time or require a few more hoops to jump through.

With the above information, you are well on your way to deciding whether or not a pre-offer inspection is right for you and the property you’re considering purchasing. Of course, there are countless factors involved in choosing a property and putting in an offer. You absolutely should consider all the information and advice that’s available to you, but at the end of the day, this property is for you and your family. Don’t discount your gut feeling. If something is telling you the home isn’t right, but you’re exhausted from the hunt and just want to have a house already, listen to that feeling. When you find the perfect place, you’ll be happy that you waited.