Boston Beacon Hill condos for sale: Don’t waive the home inspection
I see this all the time. Beacon Hill condo buyers make offers that are not inspection contingent. In a multiple offer situation, an offer without an inspection on a little old Beacon Hill house might appeal to the sellers.
When I represent Beacon Hill home buyers I do not support the decision to forgo the inspection. The buyers could end up with a house that needs expensive repairs and at the very least they need to understand the property they are buying. Skipping the inspection on a 100-year-old house is done out of desperation.
Buyer inspections can give sellers some protection from claims of hidden defects. If there is a leak under a sink that the seller doesn’t know about and that isn’t disclosed the inspector should find it. The city required Truth in Housing Inspection is somewhat helpful but not as thorough as a buyers inspection.
Home sellers and their agents should be careful about what they say when it comes to inspections. It may actually be against the law to reject an offer because the buyer asked for a lead paint inspection.
If sellers and buyers remove an inspection contingency during negotiations and if something goes wrong with the house later sellers could be accused of hiding something.
The buyer’s inspection is an important part of the home buying process. Sellers have the option of having the house inspected and making a copy of that inspection available for buyers. Sellers can also state that they will not make any repairs and inspection periods can be shortened.
Buying a house without having it inspected is not a good idea.
Some prospective Beacon Hill condo buyers rush to finalize the purchase, especially in a Seller’s market, only to find out the slew of structural inefficiencies in the Condominium building foundation later on. Hence, in most cases, home inspection before buying a home is considered mandatory.
Home inspections provide a comprehensive report of your property, saving money and time in the process. For example, suppose the property you have your eyes set on requires maintenance costs that you might not be able to afford after the buy. In that scenario, a reputable home inspection will let you know your projected post-purchase finances to give you an ‘out,’ consequently safeguarding your long-term financial security.
The best part is that home inspection costs are a drop in the bucket compared to vital home repairs, which makes them a financially shrewd investment.
Below are five great reasons why you should invest in a comprehensive home inspection before closing the deal on your next home.
The structural stability of your condominium building needs to be checked since any issues can lead to financial losses, anxiety, and inconvenience.
Major structural inefficiencies will test the capacity of your budget for the long haul. A single new roof, for instance, can cost over $10,000 on the market. Not knowing repairs like these can cause a serious dent in your budgeting.
Structural issues aren’t easy to detect. However, competent home inspectors reveal a lot about the exterior of a home–from windows and doors to downspouts and gutters. They also check the condition of balconies, driveways, garages, among other things. As a result, you get an unbiased and thorough report on the property’s structural and financial condition, allowing you to make the right choices moving on.
If the home is not up to the mark, a home inspection stops the buyer from taking any financial misstep. Upon receiving a detailed report of the home’s condition, you can also have the assurance that everything is on the table when you proceed to the negotiation phase.
What would you prefer? A modest home inspection cost of 500$ or a later home repair that’ll cost thousands of dollars?
Home inspection costs fall anywhere between $400-$500 on average. The ROI (ROI) on this amount is huge, as opposed to the amount of money you have to spend when major structural flaws in the property are revealed after the contract is signed.
One of the major benefits of arranging a home inspection before they buy is the leveraging power you get during negotiations.
For instance, if you have a home inspector’s property report at your disposal, you’ll have the upper hand in bargaining for a lower price. This information will come in handy when you’re buying a home that’s just out of your price range and need some important info to bring its value further down to meet your budget.
As an added precaution, you can also include an additional clause in the contract that allows you to back out on an agreement if the inspection comes up with issues.
After you finalize the contract with the seller, you’re under a legal obligation to follow through with the sale. Fortunately, a home inspection pads you from this irrevocable step.
Once the home inspector hands you the home inspection report, you can study it and decide whether renegotiations are needed or not. You can ask the buyer to have certain parts of the property repaired or you could propose for the home’s price to be dropped on grounds of certain unrevealed property costs and damages. If the buyers fail to honor the terms of the agreement, you can always back out of the deal.
According to a National Association of Realtors survey, 14% of property sales were never completed — home inspection being the third reason on the list.
A home is a work in progress. Things tear and waste away. That’s why you need to account for maintenance costs when buying a property. This amount depends on the home’s condition.
For example, a home with a lot of structural flaws will require more finances to maintain its condition, whereas a house with minimal issues will only cost little to stay in shape.
A home inspection can even help you find deferred maintenance expenses, helping you estimate the repairs required in the next 5 to 10 years.
A home inspection is an essential component of a home buying decision. You need to evaluate the full extent of renovation and repair costs and have an exit strategy to make sure you don’t make a wrong and irreversible move.
If you’re buying a Boston Beacon Hill condo in an often competitive real estate market like Boston’s Beacon Hill and your offers keep getting beat out, you may be tempted to resort to desperate measures. In addition to offering more than the asking price, making cash offers, or agreeing to a quick closing date, some buyers agree to waive the home inspection.
The home inspection is just one of three basic contingencies included in Massachusett’s real estate contracts. They exist to protect buyers; any one of the contingencies can reveal information that affects the value of the Boston Beacon Hill home, causing the buyer to sometimes terminate the sale. While few buyers would consider skipping reading the seller’s property disclosure or title report, somehow the home inspection has come to be viewed as optional. Here’s why it’s definitely not.
The 3 Basic Contingencies in Beacon Hill
A contingency in a real estate contract is a provision for an unforeseen event or circumstance that could affect the Beacon Hill condo buyer’s willingness to complete the deal. Usually, they allow the buyer to withdraw from the deal and receive all or part of their earnest money back.
In Massachusetts, there are three basic contingencies: a home inspection, a property disclosure, and a preliminary title report. This help avoid any surprises the buyer might have after moving in — no liens on the title, no leaks in the roof. In addition, for financed offers, there is an appraisal and finance contingency. The appraisal contingency means the lender will appraise the property to affirm that the amount of the loan is not exceeding the value of the home. The finance contingencies mean that the buyer can back out if they cannot obtain the loan.
In a buyers’ market, there may be even more contingencies than this. Buyers can add any kind of contingency they like, such as closing by a specific date or finding the home satisfactory on a final walk-through.
However, the Beacon Hill real estate market is typically a sellers’ market, and so rather than adding contingencies, buyers are more likely to actually waive them altogether. Waiving one or more of the three may be acceptable in certain, very specific situations, but normally, it’s not advised.
A home inspection is typically performed by a licensed individual who has a knack for seeing what sellers, buyers, and their Beacon Hill real estate agents can’t see. They leave no stone unturned to fully assess the condition of the Beacon Hill home. In addition to basics like flooring, walls and foundations, they typically check out all of the home’s “mechanics”, including appliances, water, electrical, and plumbing systems. They often get up on the roof to inspect its condition and crawl under the home if there is a crawlspace.
The home inspector will then hand the buyer and their Beacon Hill real estate agent a detailed report showing what they found in the home. This report will not say anything about the home value, but it will flag things the seller might not have known about and aid in determining if there’s anything that should be repaired before the home changes hands.
Even if Boston Beacon Hill home buyers are willing to buy the home in any condition, a good buyers’ agent will not advise them to sweeten the initial offer by skipping the inspection. No matter how affordable and desirable the home, it will become much less so if costly maintenance issues are discovered too late. The inspection could be a breeze, but some issues in Portland, especially leaking underground oil tanks, radon, and mold is often hard, if impossible to spot. Remedies can be written into the sales contract, but only if the issues are discovered. For buyers, knowledge is power.
It may sound like a lot of layers of protection. The seller’s property disclosure contingency requires home sellers to check off a list of problems the home may or may not have. The preliminary title report shows any issues with the home’s title, and the appraisal sends yet another person over to assess the home’s value.
The bottom line is, there’s no substitution for a thorough home inspection by a licensed inspector. The home appraiser is working for the lender, not you, the buyer. They don’t look into near the level of detail that the home inspector will. Their interest is primarily in the home’s value, which means they are looking at what the Boston Beacon Hill real estate market is doing and what other homes in the area have sold for. You shouldn’t waive any of the contingencies, but if you really feel as if the home inspection is going to be a sticking point in the negotiations, there are other options.
Depending on your situation, these alternatives may not be practical. Always discuss your options with your real estate agent.
- Pre-inspect the home. You can still get a home inspection, without making the sale contingent on what it turns up. A pre-inspection happens before you even make an offer on the home. The challenge is that home inspectors are not always available on short notice, but your real estate agent may be able to pull some strings. Getting the inspection done before the offer is in also means you’ll be paying a few hundred dollars to inspect a home you may not even buy. But if you feel like the Beacon Hill condominium is in generally good condition, and that waiving the inspection as a contingency in the contract would help, it may be a workable option.
- Rely on the sellers’ inspection. Some sellers may have the property inspected themselves before listing it on the market. It helps them price the home more accurately and address issues ahead of time so that they can not be used to negotiate a lower price for the home. Some buyers may skip their own inspection if they can see a copy of the sellers’ inspection report. However, if work has been done on the property after the sellers’ inspection, it would make sense to have another inspection done, this time on behalf of the buyer.
- Walk away. If the other buyers making offers on the home are caught up in the bidding war, and making concessions on price, repairs and other contract terms, chances are you are not going to get a good deal anyway. Better to wait for another home to come on the market, and make an offer you won’t be kicking yourself for down the road!
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