Property Inspections: Are They Necessary?

One question that has been commonly asked by prospective purchasers of real estate property, especially those would-be purchasers that will apply for FHA financing, is whether or not a real estate inspection is really necessary. The long and short answer to that question is, absolutely! I will make my best effort to explain exactly why this is so.

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First of all, we should understand clearly what a real estate property inspection is: The act of having a qualified (and in many states, licensed) professional take a look throughout the property you are considering buying and informing you of obvious and potential damage or problems with the property. This is not something you want your uncle Bob doing, unless of course, good old uncle Bob has had the training and experience to know what to look for to satisfy an inspection report and the knowledge to anticipate potential property breakdowns.

The smart home buyer knows that even though the property must be evaluated by a hud-approved (FHA) appraiser, this will not be enough to insure that the property will be free of deficiencies or potential breakdowns of major working components because although the appraisal must be done in accordance with HUD’s “Minimum Property Standards”, the appraiser’s primary responsibility is to determine value and not structural integrity of the property or its working components.

Many who are planning to purchase properties and obtain mortgage financing through the FHA comes with the attitude that they know there are problems with the property, but the price is very attractive and by the time it is appraised those problems will be dealt with and that is why they are purchasing the property. The problem is that the untrained eyes may miss some problems that should be addressed before moving along to other problems. The problems they are aware of may not be what ultimately causes the foundation to crumble.

For instance, if there were obvious signs of plumbing problems that could result in a leak behind the wall, you wouldn’t want to paint that wall or replace the floors until you had the possible leak checked and either confirmed or denied and repaired if necessary. Otherwise you would likely need to undo the work (wasting both time and money) that had already been done by the time you found out about the leak that a competent property inspector would have told you about before you even began working on the property.

The smart home buyer knows that property inspection reports and professional engineer reports reflect all elements of a real estate property (foundation, roofing, heating, plumbing and electricity, to name a few that are readily recognizable to us), the condition of those elements today, the life span (projected time to continue working) and whether replacement or repair will remedy the inevitable breakdown. The smart home buyer places great importance on the property inspection report in his/her purchasing decision.

Inspections are great before making an offer on a house because they actually give home buyers a bargaining chip. For the serious home buyer this is a fact that simply cannot be ignored as it directly affects the bottom line price. If the roof needs to be replaced you are justified in making a lower offer. If the electrical system needs to be updated, this is something that should be adjusted or amended in the final offer. These are also things that are easily identified by a qualified and competent property inspector. Anything that can save time and money is great when investing in property and an inspection can do both.

Another great purpose about a good property inspection is that it often sheds light on the amount of money that will be needed in order to get the house in good working condition. Knowledge is very important when purchasing a home. It can mean the difference between taking on an unknown expense or walking away if it would be too great to deal with once title and responsibility has been transferred. A purchaser should never take on a property that is pretty much guaranteed to blow a hole in the home management and mortgage repayment budget and probably the only way to avoid this is to know about it ahead of time with a property inspection report.

The smart home buyer knows that a proper home inspection can inform you of potentially hazardous conditions within the home that may not be readily apparent to the untrained eye. Some of these things include toxic mold, which can be financially disastrous as well as hazardous to your health; foundation issues, and structural damage that is threatening the integrity of the property, among many others as mentioned earlier.

An inspector should also notice the structural integrity of homes that could affect your home if they are weakened or fail all together. While these things seem so simple, it is often the simple things that lead to the greatest disasters. Whether or not you realize it, a good home inspector is one of the best tools you can have in your arsenal when it comes to purchasing real estate.

A message to REAMS readers:

Your support is very much appreciated. We will continue working to provide the most relevant and useful information about current FHA-insured programs and related topics. Please provide any comments, opinions or preferences which you would like us to be aware of. Thanks and God Bless!


For more about 203k, visit the HUD website; and to find out if you qualify for 203k financing, visit a HUD-approved lender at


If the government can’t run business, how come businesses always run to the government for a bailout when it runs into trouble? FHA-insured mortgages, government run for 75 years. Lest we forget?

As of July 1, 2009 a recent housing initiative was expanded to allow Las Vegas borrowers who are up to 125% underwater on their mortgages to seek mortgage refinancing. Thanks to the Making Home Affordable program!