Pre-Purchase Inspection Misconception

As a home inspector in the greater Seattle area, I believe there is a misconception about the term Pre-inspection by some people, especially first-time buyers.  Pre-Purchase inspection is a home inspection done prior to buying a home.  In the Greater Seattle area over the last few years there has been a low inventory and an influx of buyers leading to bidding wars on homes.  This has driven the price of homes up and lead to a situation where desirable homes in desirable areas don’t hit the market and wait for someone interested in the home to show up.  Houses are now put on the market and offers are not accepted until a few days later in the hopes of multiple offers.  In order to have your offer accepted its not just about how much money, its also the fewest contingencies in order to win the bidding war against sometimes 10 or more other interested parties. 

All that said, I will reiterate, a Pre-Inspection is an inspection done prior to the purchase of a home.  However, in the Seattle and surrounding areas this can be difficult to do when given the short window of opportunity.  Not to mention you may have to do multiple inspections before you win a bid for a home.  Our crazy market has given rise to an alternative understanding of the term Pre-Inspection.  This term has recently been used to identify an inspection that is done prior to submitting an offer on a home in order to do away with the inspection contingency. 

There is an alternative to spending money on a full inspection and another reason the term “Pre-Inspection” is used to describe the inspection before the offer.  Some inspectors have decided that instead of losing business they offer a discounted “Walk Through” where a report is not provided.  For the home buyer this is a great option in this fast-passed market, and you can get the information you need to make smart buying decisions.  These are usually cash only because as a home inspector it is against the Code of Ethics in the state of Washington to provide an inspection without a report and many inspectors won’t take the risk of potentially losing their license to perform this service.

As a Home inspector I cannot condone this type of inspection however as a business owner and family man I can understand not wanting to lose the business because others may suffer due to the lack of work.  It will always be my recommendation that you get a “full” home inspection no matter the situation.  If you decide to do a cash “walk through” you should know that there is no documentation to prove an inspection was performed and no grievances can be filed.

Many home buyers are skipping the inspection because they don’t want to spend money on an inspection for a home that they may not even get or have already spent money on homes they did not win and don’t want to spend more money.  I strongly advise against this and not because I am a home inspector but because I have done several inspections for people who have skipped the “pre-inspection” and brought me in after the home was purchased and in most cases nothing major was found but there has been a few where the issues found cost the home owners thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to remedy.


At from The Ground Up Home Inspections I can provide a thorough inspection that only takes a couple hours, I have competitive pricing, and on-site reporting to you can make decisions quickly.