Mike Holmes, I’m So Scared

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Like millions of other viewers, I tune regularly to see Mike Holmes rescue homeowner after homeowner from various dwelling disasters.  I know he’s always going to “take it down, take it all down” because, well, that’s just what he does.  I wish he’d come take my house down, all down, and Make It Right.

But, sadly, I know we are ineligible for Mike’s help. We bought our little 3 bed semi in a smoking hot market.  We were one of t-e-n bidders on this house and it’s nice but nothing stellar.  We paid way over the asking price; our offer was submitted with no conditions, of course.

This week, a local realtor left a flyer in my mailbox.  There were ten “SOLDs” on the flyer; every one of them went over ask.  How many of those buyers signed on the dotted line with no home inspection?  Likely all of them.

In bidding wars, buyers who want a real shot at the house must offer at least asking price and usually a good bit more.  In addition, there must be no conditions attached to the offer.  That means no financing condition and no home inspection condition.  Frankly, if you’re looking for a house in this market, you’d better have your financing arranged in advance and your mortgage broker on speed dial.

My issue is the home inspection.  Desperate home buyers who’ve lost house after house in bidding wars must plunk down insane amounts of money AND they’re expected to forego a home inspection.  We did, reluctantly.  We figured we’ve bought enough houses to know what to look out for.  We bought this house with full knowledge of it’s issues (except the roof – but again, because of the type of roof we have, I’m not surprised).  But, foregoing a home inspection can lead to expense and disaster.  The house might need a new roof, the electrical panel could be a dangerous mess, the furnace could be a carbon monoxide leaker..all sorts of things.

On Mike Holmes’ show Holmes Inspection, he illustrates how, even when you have a home inspection, your inspection is only as good as the inspector himself.  On some of the episodes, I’m left to wonder if the inspections were done by near-sighted alpacas.  Our “hot” real estate market asks (no, insists) that home inspections be waived.  What recourse do buyers have if they buy an absolute lemon of a house?  Virtually none.  But imagine fighting for your home inspection and ending up with a blind alpaca (cleverly disguised as a competent home inspector).  I’m sure Mike doesn’t have any gaps left in his schedule.  It just doesn’t seem fair and it scares the hell out of me.

Home inspections should be mandatory regardless of market conditions (just my humble opinion). “Buyer beware” shouldn’t involve issues of safety, especially when hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent.  If, by the grace of God, a deal is done where an inspection is allowed, buyers should educate themselves beforehand.  Don’t take it for granted that the home inspector is NOT an alpaca.  Buyers should know before they hand over 110% of the asking price whether or not the home is going to blow up or fall down after they move in.

Mike, I realize we bought the house knowingly without a home inspection but I was wondering if you could have a look at…

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