Are Home Inspections Necessary in Santa Barbara?

Maureen McDermut

Should You Forgo a Home Inspection When Buying a Home in Santa Barbara?

This question is often asked by home buyers in Santa Barbara. It was asked much more often at the height of the real estate market in 2021. This is because many buyers were encouraged to waive their inspections in an effort to get their offers accepted by the sellers. If you recall, in 2021, we were experiencing record low inventory and some of the highest demand for purchasing homes in history. Buyers were frustrated, and many real estate agents were encouraging their clients to skip the home inspection, which many sellers wanted.

We'll take a look at the home inspection process, how it impacts home buying, and why many don't want to get a home inspection when shopping for a new home in Santa Barbara.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is an event that is exactly what the name implies: A home inspector walks through the home, looking at specific elements and features of the house, and then provides a report about anything that needs to be repaired. This seems like a simple process, however, it can impact the sale of the home. For example, an inspector can uncover issues that the seller of the home may not even be aware of. When this happens, the proposed buyer has the option to cancel the purchase of the home if the issue is a deal breaker.

Sellers, for obvious reasons, may want to forgo the inspection process. As a home buyer, you have the right to order an inspection. Structural issues can be discovered, as can other problems. Can you imagine if you bought a home, only to find out later that you would need to repair the foundation?

Why Would a Buyer Waive an Inspection?

There are many reasons why a buyer might skip the inspection. Some of the most common include the buyer wanting to move into the home quicker, wanting to get their offer accepted, or not wanting to pay the cost of the inspection. Home inspections usually cost around $300, but can vary based on the size of the home. While $300 is not a small amount of money, investing $300 in an inspection is much less expensive than a $40,000 bill to replace the roof or $20,000 to repair the foundation of the home.

One other note about cost: If there are issues uncovered at inspection, a skilled Realtor can use that in negotiating the purchase price of the home down for you. Many times, sellers are so motivated to move that they will cover the cost of the repairs needed, either in cash or reducing the final price of the home by the amount necessary to cover the repair. This is an opportunity you would miss if you skipped your home inspection.

When it comes to the other reasons to waive the inspection, it really won't extend the move-in process that much longer to have a home inspection performed. If a seller is pressing you to waive the inspection in order to get your offer accepted, that would be a red flag to any good buyer's agent in Santa Barbara. 

Waiving Inspections in the Current Santa Barbara Real Estate Market

Currently, the Santa Barbara real estate market has returned to somewhat normal in terms of demand. This has largely happened due to the increase in mortgage rates that has pushed many buyers out of the market. Also, inflation has caused many looking for homes to forgo the process.

This has reduced the number of offers being made on properties, which means that sellers have less leverage over buyers. This means that you have less of a reason to waive the inspection when trying to buy a home in Santa Barbara. However, you may still be considering waiving your home inspection. There are still plenty of reasons to have one performed. 

A Home Inspection Can Save You Money

We mentioned this above, but there are concrete examples of home inspections helping buyers save money on the purchase of their home. There are even more instances when a home inspection has uncovered an issue that helped a buyer avoid a potential disaster. TikTok superstar "Inspector AJ", who is a licensed home inspector who keeps his identity anonymous recently told Morning Brew that the worst thing he has seen during an inspection was "A basketball-sized hole. I mean, a literal hole. [I’m on the roof and] you could see all the way down into the attic to the drywall. Judging from the debris on the roof and in the gutters, it appears that [there] may have been a large tree branch that fell and caused the damage. Rather than having it repaired properly, the sellers put it on the market knowing it would be sold almost immediately. The previous owners used a tarp to cover the hole temporarily and painted the ceiling to cover up the water marks."

AJ uses his TikTok account to let people know all about home inspections, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You can follow him to hear his stories and advice. AJ estimates that discovering the hole helped keep buyers from purchasing a home and spending upwards of $50,000 to repair the damage.

A Home Inspection Lets You Know What You're Getting Into

You may be willing to accept some issues uncovered during an inspection. However, without an inspection, you won't even have the chance to make a decision. Being an informed home buyer means knowing as much as you can about the house you're purchasing. When buying a home in Santa Barbara, you may see many nicely updated homes for sale. This may lead you to assume the home is good to go. However, you would be surprised that those cosmetic improvements were made without foundation repairs being made or roofing issues being addressed.

Often, a seller will reface cabinets and paint a front door, because these are relatively inexpensive updates to make, while skipping the expensive and more important updates needed to the home. An inspection will uncover these and give you the information you need to determine whether or not the home is right for you.

Looking to buy a home in Santa Barbara? Contact Maureen McDermut today!




Maureen has been around the industry for a lifetime. Her business is based on the core values and ethics taught to her at a very young age: integrity, honesty, and great communication.