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You can look before you leap: Pre-offer real estate inspections

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Real Estate Law

Washington’s sizzling real estate market can leave homebuyers feeling pressured to put in offers fast. But before you lose yourself to the adrenaline rush of chasing down a potential dream home, consider a pre-offer inspection. It is a powerful tool that can empower you to make informed decisions in a competitive environment.

Unlike a standard inspection conducted after an offer is accepted, a pre-offer inspection gives you a peek at the property before committing. A licensed inspector conducts a limited scope inspection in most cases, giving potential buyers better knowledge of property conditions.

The results of a pre-inspection can give you valuable bargaining power. That means you may be able to negotiate repairs with the seller or adjust your offer to reflect the needed work. It can also save you from the financial consequences of buying a property in poorer condition than is immediately apparent.

What can inspectors look for?

As mentioned, a pre-offer inspection comes with limitations on what can be inspected. Generally, inspectors may:

  • Assess the functionality of major systems like heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical while looking for signs of wear and potential for future issues.
  • Examine structural components, such as the foundation, roof and walls for cracks, leaks or signs of instability.
  • Check carefully for visible problems like water damage, mold or sagging walls and floors.

In the same way pre-inspections can identify potential property issues – knowledgeable guidance can help you spot (and avoid) unfair purchase agreements and other nasty surprises. Considering Washington’s competitive real estate market, any edge you can get can potentially be beneficial.