Bidding Wars & Pre-offer Inspections

Bidding Wars & Pre-Offer InspectionsIn the bustling real estate market of Washington, bidding wars are common and homebuyers are relying on their brokers to protect them against poor judgment and hasty decisions.  Home Inspectors understand just how much professional knowledge and hard work REALTORS® bring into every transaction just as REALTORS® know that a thorough home inspection is the best and safest route to pursue before a client locks themselves into one of the biggest decisions of their life. 

It is our obligation as industry leaders to ensure homeowners are 100% aware of the inner workings of a home when making an offer. Of course, an inspection is always a must, but in the case of bidding wars, a pre-offer inspection is strongly recommended to inform clients of issues and system conditions. Many homes are clearly being sold over asking price, and many times, clients are taking a chance without knowing what potential issues could lie beneath.

With multiple bids, a potential buyer with a pre-offer inspection will stand out and can ultimately waive the need for a contingency based on the inspection findings. A few hundred dollars for a pre-offer inspection is a small price to pay to be educated in a competitive situation and is a lot cheaper than blindly offering thousands more on the home.

It is also important to acknowledge that potential buyers are looking at homes at the top of their lending approval rate. This can be a vulnerable time for many, and it is essential to protect clients from potential additional costs and updates that might need to be made after the initial purchase. Of course, these potential updates can be identified in a pre-offer inspection, or general inspection and a good inspector will not leave anything uncovered.

Discovering potential issues and accessing what the repair costs will be over the long run will allow a client to evaluate their budget. As you know, it’s valuable for clients to have a nest egg when purchasing a home to continue paying towards as system upgrades may arise. It is just as important for homebuyers to understand the ins and outs of the home they plan to purchase by being present for a home inspection.

By attending the inspection, a homeowner will be afforded a complete verbal explanation of how each system works, what systems exist in the home and will be able to ask any and all questions on the home. Written reports are very detailed, but nothing beats seeing the issues first hand.

Questions you can advise homeowners to ask their inspector to protect themselves and their purchase include:
  • Where are the systems located and how do you use them?
  • What are the age and lifespans of the systems?
  • What will the cost range be for updates?
  • What safety issues should be addressed? i.e. carbon monoxide systems, smoke detectors, guardrails, etc.
  • How often will updates of major systems need to be made such as roofing, electrical, heating and plumbing?

There will always be issues in every home, as no house is “perfect.” It is our job as a home inspector to inform and educate homebuyers on how to prevent issues from occurring and how to correct those that already exist.  Small tips and tricks can go a long way when buying a house and a good inspector should leave no stone unturned or question unanswered.

Jeff Williams is a Washington State Licensed Inspector #343 and can be reached via phone at 206-526-1940, email at and via his sites at and

You are not allowed to post comments.