Somebody recently asked the following question about an as-is home inspection:
“My landlord is offering to sell me the 2 bed 1 bath house I’m renting at an as-is price. I have lived here about 5 years now. I have never owned a home or put any effort into this house because I rented. The house is quite old, so it needs some work, but I don’t know anything about this stuff. Is it worth having a home inspection if he’s selling as-is?”
The reasoning here is: If the house is sold as-is and the seller will not make any repairs, is there still any benefit for the buyer in spending the money on a home inspection?
The short answer is yes, most definitely. The home inspection will provide you with a lot of information that you most likely were not aware of. This is especially important if you are a first-time home buyer and unfamiliar with home ownership and associated cost. This information is useful for three major reasons:
You gather important information and know exactly what you are getting into. The home inspector will educate you about annual maintenance you have to perform to keep a house in good shape. After all, a house is a wear-and tear item. He can tell you the average lifespan of major appliances and when you likely have to replace them. This helps you budget for major expenses.
As a renter, you have the luxury of calling the landlord to repair or replace any broken item at no additional cost to you. As a home owner, you now have to bear those expenses. The home inspection will help you understand what those are and when to expect them.
You will also learn other things you might not know. For example, if the house is old, the material of the plumbing is likely galvanized steel. There are inherent issues with old galvanized steel plumbing, such as restriction due to mineral build-up from hard water and a high risk of leaks due to the pipes rusting from the inside out. Or a scan of the main sewer line might reveal a cracked or blocked pipe with root intrusion, requiring expensive repair. The home inspection will help you learn what hidden issues or potential risks that are lurking.
Even if the seller already declared that they will not make any repairs, you can still use the home inspection report for leverage to negotiate the purchase price. Based on the results of the home inspection, you might receive quotes for roof, plumbing, and HVAC repair or replacement. What if they add up to $20,000? That gives you leverage to negotiate the purchase price if you decide to proceed. Obviously you want to make sure this all fits into your budget.
The home inspection could reveal issues about the house or upcoming expenses you did not know about. What if these issues are beyond your tolerance level or your budget? Reviewing all the information gained from the home inspection might give you a reality check. You might realize that the house is not a good fit for you after all. The results of the home inspection could prevent you from making a huge mistake.
Even if you are considering buying a home as-is, a home inspection will give you a realistic picture of the state of the house and possible maintenance and repair cost you will face as a home owner. A home inspection will alert you to issues that you likely have not thought about before. This allows you to get a much clearer picture and helps you crunch the numbers to make sure the financial aspect makes sense for you.
If you love the house and really want it, if you have the financial means to deal with maintenance and repair, and you decide to move forward with the purchase, then the home inspection report will give you leverage to negotiate for a lower price due to the issues discovered.
If you don’t know much about home ownership and the financial responsibilities that come with it, the home inspection might give you a much-needed reality check and prevent you from making a costly mistake that you are not prepared to handle.
Either way, paying for an as-is home inspection is definitely worth the money.