Waived home inspections are putting Mass. inspectors out of work

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Jameson Malgeri has been a Massachusetts home inspector for more than seven years. He’s worried about the future of his industry.

“I think we are going to lose a fair share of home inspectors,” Malgeri said. “I think some guys are going to be put out of work.”

The reason, he said, is the alarming trend of home buyers waiving inspections to make an offer more competitive in a red hot housing market. Malgeri, a director with the New England chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors, said more and more buyers are removing their home inspection contingency, and it’s forcing inspectors to leave the business.

“My fear is that people will realize the importance of home inspections, and we won’t have the inspectors once [inspections] come back,” Malgeri said.

According to a recent ASHI survey, 36 percent of home inspectors reported a “substantial loss” in revenue when asked about the impact to their businesses. Twelve percent reported losses of more than 50 percent and said they “may have to leave the business,” the survey revealed.

Malgeri said there are around 1,100 licensed home inspectors in Massachusetts. Around 600 are active, he said.

“That’s the scary part for me – not so much what’s happening in the industry, but the stuff we find [during an inspection]. We’re finding gas leaks constantly. We’re finding electrical issues every day. What’s going to happen if these houses never get checked out for those really unsafe conditions?” Malgeri said.

North Shore realtor Kevin Vitali said waiving inspection has become the norm.

“Quite frankly, when I’m listing a home, I’m getting 10-plus offers. The people who put home inspections in are put at the bottom of the list,” Vitali said. “When you’re on your fourth or fifth offer and you keep losing it over a home inspection, then it’s time to start talking about that with your client.”

Vitali said one possible solution may be a “pre-offer home inspection.” It’s no substitute for a full inspection report, but it may help save you some money, he said.

“Some sellers won’t allow [a pre-offer home inspection], but I’ve actually brought a home inspector to an open house with me,” Vitali said. “These are not full reports. They’re modified reports, but it could prevent you from making a costly mistake.”

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