March 30, 2023

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· 5 min read
Buying a home without a home inspection is a bit like eloping with a random hottie you met on the subway, only to find out they’ve created an obscure religion called Toadism and spend their weekends paying tribute to the Toad Lord. ?
Homes are kind of the same way (stick with me here) because although a house might look great on the outside, there can be some secrets lurking behind new windows and fresh paint. That’s why the smart move is to conduct a thorough home inspection before finalizing your home purchase.
Inspector AJ is no stranger to the havoc waived home inspections bring. As he drags himself through an insulated crawl space, it quickly becomes apparent why bypassing this step is a bad idea. “It’s time to show a little bit of ugly,” he proclaims as his phone camera cuts to a cinder block wall. There, perched on the wall with the sinister confidence of Satan’s soldiers, is an orchestra of hungry cave crickets looking back at him.
AJ, who keeps his full name under wraps, is a certified professional inspector (CPI) and TikTok creator who regularly shares the gnarlier bits of home inspecting with his 1.7 million followers. His message is clear: When buying a home, don’t waive the inspection contingency—unless you’d like a merry band of palm-sized cave crickets to slowly feed on your home and furniture. And yet, some desperate would-be homebuyers are waiving inspections in an effort to hack a seemingly impossible housing market.
In 2021, Redfin found that more than 30% of successful buyers working with their agents waived their right to an inspection. And as the 2022 market reached a boiling point, more and more homebuyers considered cutting corners to get their offers through.
Unfortunately, skipping a home inspection can lead to nasty surprises like cave crickets, so Money Scoop polled five real estate experts to find out: What’s the worst thing you’ve seen during an inspection?
“A basketball-sized hole. I mean, a literal hole. [I’m on the roof and] you could see all the way down into the attic to the drywall. Judging from the debris on the roof and in the gutters, it appears that [there] may have been a large tree branch that fell and caused the damage. Rather than having it repaired properly, the sellers put it on the market knowing it would be sold almost immediately. The previous owners used a tarp to cover the hole temporarily and painted the ceiling to cover up the water marks.”Inspector AJ
“Structural problems. The stability of your foundation determines how structurally sound your home is. Since the foundation supports everything else in your home—including the walls, windows, floors, entrances, and roof—damage to the foundation can have major consequences elsewhere in your house.”—Sal Dimiceli Sr., owner of Lake Geneva Area Realty
“I’ve seen some pretty nasty things during my career, such as rotted floorboards, infestations of all kinds, and electrical wiring that would make your hair stand on end. And those are just the things that are visible to the naked eye! Skipping a home inspection can be a huge mistake because you never know what might be lurking beneath the surface.”—Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute
“I just finished an inspection of a New York City duplex a month ago. It was the worst experience of my life at that location. On the walls of the kitchen, there was a significant amount of mold. The bedroom carpet was riddled with the smell of dog feces. The ceilings were riddled with signs of water infiltration. Cracks near the northeast corner revealed serious structural and foundational problems.”—Theresa Raymond, real estate broker
“Possibly the worst thing I’ve seen would be the erosion of surface soils, ever so slight, that leave a pathway for surface waters to reach the base of a foundation. With that in mind, the basement floor (from built-up pressure) and specific parts of the foundation wall had begun to have hairline cracks that were showing signs of water entry.”—Walter Kunstmann, strategic real estate advisor at Real Estate Bees
So, is skipping a home inspection ever a good idea? “If you’re buying a brand new home from a reputable builder, you probably don’t need to worry about hidden problems,” said Haley. “But if you’re buying an older home or one from a less-than-reputable builder, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and get an inspection.”
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“You might not find out about urgent safety issues that need to be fixed before closing without a home inspection,” agreed Dimiceli. “This covers fire dangers, carbon monoxide dangers, and electrical dangers. It takes a skilled house inspector to identify problems because many of them are concealed by nature or by design.”
Take it from the pros: A speedy buying process probably isn’t worth it if you’re letting cave crickets (or who knows what else) live rent-free in your crawlspace. ?—Lillian
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