Persistently low housing inventory coupled with high demand has resulted in a hot seller’s market across the Puget Sound region, and homebuyers are using a variety of methods to stand out among their competitors. “There is one tool they may be missing,” says Dwayne Boggs, owner of Lacey-based Boggs Inspection Services. “If you really want to stand out from other home buyers, a pre-offer inspection can be just the thing.”
Many homebuyers don’t even know about a pre-offer inspection. “A pre-offer inspection is just what it sounds like,” says Dwayne, “Instead of waiting until you’ve made an offer to get a home inspection performed, the buyer initiates one before they make an offer.” Pre-offer inspections are much less common, which is why many buyers don’t know about them, but during a hot housing market like the one that the region is currently experiencing, they can make all the difference in helping you stand out from other buyers competing for a home.
A pre-offer inspection has several benefits, explains Dwayne. It indicates to the seller that you are serious and committed to the home buying process. Like loan-prequalification, the pre-offer inspection requires extra leg-work from the buyer, indicating that their interest in the home is legitimate. “If you want a seller to know you are serious, a pre-offer inspection sends a very clear message,” says Dwayne.
A pre-offer inspection can also reduce closing time, as the inspection has already been completed by the time the offer is made. This offers the buyer the opportunity to waive inspection when they make the offer. This can be appealing to a seller, as a smooth and possibly speedier closing can be an attractive benefit for both the buyer and the seller.
A pre-offer inspection can also make you aware of conditions in the home before you invest a lot of time and energy into the process. The information gained in a pre-offer inspection can be a valuable tool when deciding whether you want to make an offer of asking price, or something above or below. Making your offer based on the pre-offer inspection can also reduce some of the back and forth between the buyer and seller in price negotiations, as the buyer has more information at their fingertips when making the initial offer.
There are some challenges and potential downsides to a pre-offer inspection. First, you must work with the agents to see if the seller would be willing to allow a pre-offer inspection. Some sellers would rather wait until an offer has been made before allowing a buyer to arrange an inspection. Also, a pre-offer inspection is an investment that is not always guaranteed to pay off. Like any inspection, the pre-offer inspection may reveal something in the home that you do not want to take on. An investment in a pre-offer inspection is no guarantee that the seller will accept your offer, and potentially, you may not be the only buyer who has a pre-offer inspection done.
In a hot housing market, offers are regularly made within a few days of the property being listed. This means that a buyer has a very short window of time to initiate and arrange a pre-offer inspection. “That’s why it helps to have a team,” says Dwayne. Single person inspection businesses can often be booked up for several days, and they don’t always have the flexibility to make an inspection happen at a very short notice. “Often we can book a pre-offer inspection the next business day.”
So, if you are looking for a home in the hot Puget Sound market anywhere across Pierce, Thurston, South King, Mason, or Lewis counties and you are trying to get a step ahead of the competition, take some time to decide if a pre-offer inspection can help you stand out. If you’ve found a home and you are ready for a pre-offer inspection, give the home inspection experts at Boggs Inspection Services a call at 360.480.9602 or take a look at the Boggs Inspection Services website.