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Some buyers forgoing home inspections amid hot market

The housing market in Vermont is so tight, people aren’t even paying inspectors to walk through before putting in an offer.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 8:21 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The housing market in Vermont is so tight, that some buyers aren’t even paying inspectors to walk through before putting in an offer. While the market is starting to cool, there are concerns about what’s being done to land a place to live.

“We were busy, busy, busy, and then the inventory started to dry up,” said Steve Dukette, president of the Vermont Association of Home Inspectors.

A Vermont housing frenzy is starting to slow down as inventory drops and interest rates climb again. Dukette says a new challenge for homebuyers is rearing its head.

“What we are seeing is people are forgoing their inspections,” he said.

Dukette says from a business perspective, it’s choking out inspectors. He estimates about a 50% loss in work in recent months.

“We have to make cuts, like I said, we have to lay off some of our people. Other guys are struggling just to keep the lights on,” Dukette said.

But his business aside, he says lack of inspections could create other problems.

“It protects the public from hidden danger, if you will, or unexpected cost,” said Dukette.

“Yes. We are seeing and it’s not advised. We are seeing people forgo the home inspection,” said Michael Hickey, the president of the Vermont Association of Realtors.

Hickey says the housing market does seem to be cooling. Previously they would see 12 offers on a home, now it’s more like six. Previously a house would last on the market for a weekend, but now it’s lasting a week. While he understands the need for buyers to want an edge, he doesn’t want to see that come from a lack of inspection.

“There are also things that the naked eye can’t see and a home inspector is going to have the opportunity to take a deeper dive. Home inspectors come in and spend two to three hours, that depends on the size of the house, but they are spending two to three hours in the house and going through it. They are going in and taking a full look and a lot of it has to do with safety,” said Hickey.

It could be a roof replacement coming up or wiring issues somewhere in the home. Hickey advises first-time homebuyers to work closely with a realtor and says there are ways for buyers to get what they need to know without hurting their competitive edge.

“Ask them about doing a home inspection that is not contingent on the sale-- so, for your eyes only,” said Hickey.

Dukette says it could save buyers long-term budgeting or just simply keep them safe.

“What we are basically selling is peace of mind, just so that you know exactly what you are getting,” said Dukette.

Hickey also says he does know some home inspectors that are starting to see their schedules pick back up. He believes that is another sign that the housing market is starting to return to normal.

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