June 22, 2024

Home Inspection

Home Inspection, Primary Monitoring for Your Home

I Paid More Than My Home’s Appraised Value to Guarantee an Inspection

5 min read

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  • When my husband and I were searching for a home, we got into a bidding war on a house.
  • The other bidder offered to waive getting an inspection — we instead increased our offer by $8,000.
  • It paid off — our inspector missed a flaw in the house, making him responsible for the repairs.

In the weeks before our move from Utah to my husband Ian’s Kansas hometown, we hired a real-estate agent and searched for homes in Kansas to get an idea of the market and what we were looking for.

Due to the competitive real estate market, even in small-town Kansas, homes only stayed on the market for a matter of days at most. We wanted to be prepared, but we knew anything we liked would be gone by the time we were in the state.

Then we came across a mid-century home that we just couldn’t pass up, even if we wouldn’t be in Kansas for several more weeks. It was modestly sized, but it had a finished basement, a large back porch, original hardwood floors, a huge updated kitchen, and four bedrooms. It was truly a gem and we knew from our search that we were not likely to find another like it in our price range. Our real-estate agent allowed my father-in-law to tour the home, and Ian and I joined on a video call to make sure there were no glaring red flags.

Even without being able to see the house in person, any cosmetic issues we couldn’t see on the video call would be worth it to have the features of this house while staying within our budget. And I felt secure that major issues would be caught by an inspector before closing.

We made an offer — and got caught in a bidding war

We made a risky and somewhat unconventional decision to put an offer on the house almost sight unseen. The longer the day stretched waiting to hear if it was accepted, the more attached I became to the house we’d only seen virtually and in photos.

Toward the end of the day, we were told that another family had also put an offer on the house and it was very close to ours. My heart sank — we’d have to engage in a bidding war if we wanted our house. Our competition responded first. They wanted to keep their offer as it was but waived their right to have the house inspected before closing. They decided to gamble on the home having no structural, plumbing, or otherwise unseen problems that the seller might be liable for.

My husband and I discussed whether this was a risk we were also willing to take, and ultimately, we could not take the chance that a home we’d never even seen before would also not have any big problems. Instead of waiving an inspection, we offered to pay more than the appraisal price — $8,000 more. As our mortgage lender would only loan us the money for the home’s appraised value, that money would come directly from our pockets with our down payment.

Our home inspector missed a crack in our foundation, but he was financially responsible

The sellers accepted our offer, and we were on our way to owning a home with virtually everything we wanted. Once we were in Kansas, my husband accompanied a professional inspector into our home-to-be. On the surface, it was exactly as we expected. Even better, the inspector didn’t find any underlying problems.

Perhaps for a moment, we wondered if we should have also waived our inspection and saved that money. But we reassured each other that we had done the responsible thing by deciding to pay more money instead. And we were absolutely right.

Within one week of moving in, Ian was in our basement laundry room, the only unfinished part of the basement. He noticed light coming through a crack in the concrete wall and a gap near the basement window that indicated the surrounding earth had pushed the foundation in.

Though Ian is not at all trained in construction or home inspection, he knew this was a problem. In fact, while we were buying our house, a relative was having a similar foundation problem repaired to the tune of $15,000. Ian called the inspector we had hired and asked him to come back to take a look.

To his credit, when the inspector arrived and saw the gap, he immediately owned up to his mistake in missing this issue. He failed to check the outer perimeter of the foundation where he would have seen space between the foundation and the ground. This is a standard part of home inspection, and we’re not sure why he skipped it. Fortunately, the inspector said he would cover the cost of fortifying the foundation and that if the damage was excessive, his insurance would buy the house from us.

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