I recently read your column on home inspections. I was wondering is there a downside to have 2 separate companies perform a home inspection on a home we are purchasing? I would think no, but realize it is not customary.

How very prudent of you. I like it! There is no downside to having 2 separate home inspections performed on a home you intend to purchase other than potential time constraints and money spent on the additional inspection.

You will typically perform a home inspection during one of two times – which each pose their individual time constraints.

The first situation is after you have an accepted agreement of purchase and sale, and is conditional upon a home inspection being performed within a certain timeframe.  In this situation, timing can be a little easier to manage, as you typically stipulate five business days to fulfill the home inspection condition. That does mean that you would ideally be present for both home inspections, which could take upwards of 4 hours each.

If you decide to go this route, make sure your realtor has built in appropriate verbiage indicating you intend to perform two home inspections as opposed to one. Also, be prepared to be met with some resistance with the additional home inspection, as you might be seen to be overly cautious, and therefore more likely to back out of the deal for minor issues that may arise.

The second situation is when a home is expected to go into a multiple offer or “bidding war” scenario, and you decide to conduct a pre-offer home inspection in order to come to the table with a firm, non-conditional offer. This has become routine practice in hot markets across the country. A shrewd seller will usually include a pre-listing home inspection for potential buyers to review when deciding on whether or not to offer on the home.

Some caution should be exercised when relying on a seller’s home inspection, as you they are conducting the inspection for the benefit of the seller. Also, you are not present during the inspection and have no chance to interact and ask questions during the process.  In this case, why not conduct your own inspection as well to compare notes with the existing home inspection?

Finally, as I mentioned earlier – conducting two home inspections will double your costs, up to $1000 for both. If you are in the second scenario I outlined of conducting a pre-offer inspection, there is no guarantee of you securing the home due to the unknown nature of a multiple offer situation. In both of these cases, the extra cost for the piece of mind on such a large purchase can be invaluable. A few hundred to a thousand dollars to save you tens of thousands down the route does not seem like an unreasonable investment to me.

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