Are homes being sold in this spring market in better condition?

Home Inspection Gloucester

By Jameson Malgeri

For the last two-plus years one phenomenon most inspectors have been well aware of is, homes have been in really bad condition. I think this is something we are perhaps only recently seeing a change in. Before we get to the condition of homes for sale in this spring market, let’s talk about the recent history of homes in our area.

There are always all types of homes on the market, so we can only speak in generalities, and we are focused more on trends and percentages than any specific home. Homes for the past two-plus years have been on average the worst condition I have seen in some period of time. This is not anything I have tracked or measured, just a general impression. If this trend in fact is a reality, I have some suspicions about why. First off, the recent movement to waive contingencies in offers, particularly the home inspection. In recent markets particularly the last year, there has been a reasonable expectation that you will receive offers with a waived inspection if your home is priced competitively, and as a result, sellers can anticipate they may not have to deal with a home inspection at all. Additionally, with more competition, you can anticipate your home selling quicker and with fewer visits to the home, less invasiveness into your property, and avoidance of any awareness of possible defects discovered during inspections. This all adds up to homeowners that have apprehensions about selling a property they feel is in poor condition having the ability to “dump” their property on the market with the least effort and with a small percentage of having things fall apart given the condition. This has been a steady trend of a large percentage of substandard homes being offloaded into the market while the opportunity lasts.

Now let’s look at today’s market and think about what may have changed. The rates have generally been much higher than the last few years heading into this spring. Most buyers have lost a significant amount of buying power and can no longer afford what they could a year ago. Secondly, while things have remained competitive in this area, they are somewhat less competitive and significantly less competitive in some other parts of the country. We are still seeing a large percentage of waived inspections, but I would say we are definitely doing a much higher percentage of home inspections even if it’s not the percentage it was prior to the pandemic and current market competitiveness. Add this all up and you end up with a different market, particularly for sellers of homes in poor condition. It’s no longer the perfect time to get rid of that home you have been afraid to sell for a long time. As a result, I estimate that fewer homes in general are being “dumped” and while I can’t be sure with such a little sample size my feeling is that the homes being sold now are on average generally in better condition.

For someone in the market today looking for a home, I think there are plusses and minuses to buying right now. Rates are high but things are still flying off the market quickly due to our low inventory, but on the other hand, a higher percentage of home buyers are getting inspections and homes may be in generally better condition. There are still plenty of homes on the market, which need costly improvements and/or have unsafe defects, and getting an inspection is still essential. If you are looking for a home, reach out to us as early as possible in your buying process.