A Home Inspection In A Low Inventory Market

Date Published: March 16, 2021

If you have been hunting for a house in the Front Range of Colorado lately, you’ll likely understand the term “low inventory.” If you are an agent, it’s likely one of the first things you tell your clients.

Housing inventory in Colorado is LOW. There just aren’t that many homes on the market right now.

This market update from Madison Properties indicates that the number of single-family homes for sale in the Denver metro area is down a whopping 65% from last February!

As a buyer, this means lots of competition on the homes worth buying and higher prices across the board.

More and more agents we speak with have been showing exclusively brand new homes as they are the only homes available.

Even so, many new developments have long waitlists or entire neighborhoods are sold out of lots.

All of this demand causes more cutthroat contract negotiation. People feel forced to bypass appraisal and inspection contingencies in their contracts to try to get a leg up on the competition.

This is certainly not a good thing for buyers as skipping an inspection can lead to unforeseen issues with the home after move-in that will be at the full responsibility of the new homeowner.

So what can you do?

The first thing you can do is wait. Spring is upon us and inventory will likely pick up over the following weeks.

Will it be enough to cover all the demand? Not likely, but it may help with more favorable contract terms.

However, waiting is not always an option for a lot of people. Maybe you recently sold your home, or you are renting and your lease is coming to an end?

So if you do jump into the deep end, what are your options when it comes to your inspection contingency?

Negotiate lighter inspection terms instead of waiving it completely!

One development we have been hearing from buyers is that their inspection contingency only covers certain items.

Maybe you have a full inspection performed, but the sellers are only obligated to negotiate on major health and safety items.

This can give your offer a leg up on others but still gives you the chance to ensure you are buying a safe and healthy home.

Some contracts have gotten even more specific and they name big-ticket items individually.

One buyer noted recently that they can only negotiate for roof and sewer line issues.

Since these areas are looked at during a home inspection, they still had a full inspection performed.

When contract conditions like this are put into place, the inspection report becomes more of a punch list for the new homeowner.

This still keeps surprises from happening and can help a new owner prioritize any repairs that need to be made upon move in.

An Agents Take:

“This market is the most competitive I’ve seen in my 17+ years. I’ve seen many offers come across my listings with waived inspections. Some questions to ask yourself before doing so, Are you ok with a ~$12,000 sewer replacement or a ~$15,000 roof on top of the price you paid along with your appraisal gap?

Maybe consider keeping the inspection termination option only. This shows you are buying AS-IS, but allows you the right to terminate. If you do decide to waive the inspection I’d suggest getting an inspection anyway so you can have that to-do list ready for when you move in!”

Ryan Conover, REALTOR® & Team Leader
The Conover Team, Madison & Company Properties
303-819-1818 | [email protected]
www.theconoverteam.com | www.madisonprops.com


So what do we recommend?

We hope that you can get a full inspection contingency in your contract.

However, if the current market conditions are just too “seller-leaning” to do so, we recommend you ask for contingencies on a few major items.

Sewer scope on a roof

These items being: Foundation, Roof, and Sewer Line.

Problems found in one of these 3 categories can be some of the most expensive repairs for a homeowner and they are usually hidden problems that can’t be seen on a simple walk-through.

This also gives you the opportunity to have a full inspection done regardless of the limitations, and will provide a good overview of the condition of the property.

As always, consult with your real estate agent as to the best course of action. They have the most experience navigating this market environment and will help you along the way.

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About the Author: Chris Scott

Chris Scott is an ASHI certified home inspector with multiple years of experience in home inspections, blower door testing, duct leakage testing, and Boulder Rental License Inspections. Chris is also the Website Coordinator for Scott Home Inspection.

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