Alex Mortgages

Mortgage Agent Level 2

What is the pre-approval inspection? Everything you need to know 2024


What is a Pre-Approval Inspection?


Imagine buying a car without taking it for a test drive. It sounds risky, doesn’t it? A pre-approval inspection for a home plays a similar role. It’s a comprehensive evaluation of a property’s condition conducted by a qualified inspector before you finalize your mortgage. This inspection helps you identify potential problems with the house, estimate repair costs, and make informed decisions about your purchase.

Think of it as getting a detailed report card for the house. Just like a good report card helps you understand a student’s strengths and weaknesses, a pre-approval inspection reveals the property’s condition, highlighting areas that might need attention or pose potential risks.

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Why is it Important?


Here’s why a pre-approval inspection is crucial for any homebuyer:

Informed Decisions: Knowing the property’s condition allows you to make a well-informed decision about the purchase. Unexpected repairs can significantly impact your budget. The inspection report helps you factor in potential repair costs and negotiate the asking price accordingly.

Peace of Mind: Buying a house is a significant investment. A pre-approval inspection offers peace of mind by uncovering any hidden issues that could lead to expensive repairs down the road. It allows you to enter the purchase with your eyes wide open, avoiding nasty surprises later.

Negotiating Power: The pre-approval inspection report becomes a valuable bargaining tool during negotiations. If the report reveals major issues, you can use it to negotiate a lower price or request the seller to address the repairs before closing.

Mortgage Approval: Although not always mandatory, some lenders might require a pre-approval inspection before finalizing your mortgage approval.

When Should You Get a Pre-Approval?


Ideally, you should schedule a pre-approval inspection after your offer on the house is accepted by the seller. This ensures you’re not spending money on an inspection for a property you might not end up buying.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: Once your offer is accepted and before you remove any contingencies in the purchase agreement (such as the financing contingency), schedule the inspection.

What Happens During a Pre-Approval?

A pre-approval is typically conducted by a licensed and experienced home inspector. The inspector will perform a thorough examination of the property, typically lasting 2-3 hours. Here’s what you can expect:

Exterior Inspection: The inspector will examine the roof, foundation, siding, gutters, windows, and doors, checking for any signs of damage, wear and tear, or potential leaks.

Interior Inspection: The inspector will assess the overall condition of the walls, ceilings, floors, electrical wiring, plumbing systems, and HVAC system. They’ll also check for any potential safety hazards like mold or asbestos.

Appliance Inspection: Major appliances like the dishwasher, oven, and water heater will be inspected for functionality and potential issues.

Structural Inspection: The inspector will examine the foundation, framing, and structural integrity of the house, looking for any cracks, sagging, or other structural concerns.

Important Note: While a pre-approval inspection is thorough, it’s not exhaustive. Here are some limitations to keep in mind:

Limited Scope: The inspection focuses on readily accessible areas and major systems. Hidden problems like issues behind walls or underground plumbing might not be detected.

Focus on Major Systems: The inspector might not delve deep into specific components within major systems like electrical panels or HVAC units.

Not an Appraisal: A pre-approval inspection is not an appraisal. It doesn’t determine the market value of the property.

What Documents Do You Need for a Pre-Approval?

Typically, you won’t need to provide any documents for the pre-approval inspection itself. However, it’s helpful to have a copy of the house plans and the seller’s disclosure (if available) to share with the inspector. This information can help them tailor the inspection to the specific features of the property.

Understanding the Pre-Approval Report

After the inspection, the inspector will provide a detailed report outlining their findings. The report will typically include:

Summary of Findings: A concise overview of the property’s condition, highlighting any major issues or concerns.

Detailed Observations: A room-by-room breakdown of the inspection, detailing the condition of various components and systems within the house.

Photos: The report might include pictures of any damage, defects, or areas requiring attention.

Recommendations: The inspector might recommend further evaluation by specialists like electricians or plumbers for specific concerns.

What Happens After the Pre-Approval Inspection?

Once you have the pre-approval inspection report, you can review it carefully and discuss it with the inspector if you have any questions. Here’s what you can do next:

Analyze the Report: Review the report thoroughly, paying close attention to any major issues identified.

Consult with Professionals: If the report recommends further evaluation by specialists, schedule appointments with them to get a more detailed assessment.

Make Informed Decisions: Based on the inspection findings and potential repair costs, you can decide how to proceed. You might choose to negotiate the price with the seller, request repairs, or even walk away from the purchase if the problems are too extensive.

Move Forward with Confidence: With the knowledge gained from the pre-approval inspection, you can confidently move forward with the purchase process, knowing exactly what you’re getting into.

The Benefits of Getting a Pre-Approval Inspection

There are numerous benefits to getting a pre-approval inspection for your potential new home:

Uncover Hidden Problems: The inspection helps identify potential issues that might not be readily apparent during a walk-through.

Budget for Repairs: The report allows you to factor in potential repair costs and avoid budget surprises down the road.

Negotiate Effectively: Use the inspection findings as leverage to negotiate a lower price or request repairs from the seller.

Peace of Mind: Gain confidence and reduce stress knowing the condition of the home before finalizing the purchase.

Avoid Buyer’s Remorse: A pre-approval inspection can prevent post-purchase regrets by helping you make informed decisions.

Common Misconceptions About Pre-Approval Inspections

Here are some common misconceptions about pre-approval inspections to clear up:

Not Mandatory: While not always mandatory, a pre-approval inspection is highly recommended for any homebuyer.

Guarantees Perfect Condition: The inspection doesn’t guarantee a problem-free house. It identifies potential issues, not eliminates them entirely.

Only for Old Homes: Pre-approval inspections are valuable for both new and old homes. Even new houses can have hidden defects.

Too Expensive: The cost of a pre-approval inspection is a small investment compared to the potential repair costs you might incur without it.

Tips for a Smooth Pre-Approval Inspection Experience

Here are some pointers to ensure a smooth pre-approval inspection experience:

Choose a Qualified Inspector: Select a licensed and experienced inspector with good reviews.

Schedule the Inspection at the Right Time: Ideally, schedule the inspection after your offer is accepted but before removing contingencies.

Be Present During the Inspection: Attend the inspection and ask questions if anything is unclear.

Review the Report Carefully: Take time to understand the report and its implications.

Don’t Panic: Finding issues during the inspection is common. Use it as an opportunity to make informed decisions.

Costs Associated with a Pre-Approval Inspection

The cost of a pre-approval inspection can vary depending on the size and location of the property, but typically ranges from $300 to $1,000.

While it might seem like an additional expense,

While it might seem like an additional expense, consider it an investment in protecting your financial well-being. Here’s why:

Savings on Repairs: Identifying potential issues early on can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected repairs down the road.

Stronger Negotiation Position: The inspection report can be a powerful tool for negotiating a lower price or repairs with the seller.

Peace of Mind: The knowledge gained from the inspection is invaluable, reducing stress and anxiety during the home buying process.

Alternatives to Pre-Approval Inspections

There are a few limited alternatives to a pre-approval inspection, but they come with drawbacks:

Seller’s Disclosure: The seller’s disclosure is a document outlining any known defects or issues with the property. However, it relies on the seller’s knowledge and honesty, and might not reveal everything.

Walk-Through Inspection: A basic walk-through with your realtor can be helpful, but it’s not a substitute for a thorough inspection by a professional.

Skipping the Inspection (Not Recommended): This is a risky option that could lead to expensive surprises after purchasing the house.

Can You Negotiate Based on the Pre-Approval Inspection Report?

Absolutely! The pre-approval inspection report becomes a valuable bargaining chip during negotiations with the seller. Here’s how:

Highlight Major Issues: Present any significant concerns identified in the report to the seller.

Request Repairs: You can negotiate for the seller to address specific repairs before closing.

Negotiate Price Reduction: Based on the repair costs, you can propose a lower purchase price to offset the additional expenses.

Remember, negotiation is a two-way street. Be prepared to compromise and find a solution that works for both you and the seller.


A pre-approval inspection is a crucial step in the home buying process. It empowers you with valuable information about the property’s condition, allowing you to make informed decisions. Don’t let the initial cost deter you – it’s a wise investment that can save you money and stress down the road. With a pre-approval inspection by your side, you can confidently navigate the home buying journey and find your dream home!


1. How long does a pre-approval inspection take?

A pre-approval inspection typically takes 2-3 hours, depending on the size and complexity of the property.

2. What if I find major problems during the inspection?

Don’t panic! Major problems are a chance to re-evaluate your offer. You can negotiate for repairs, a lower price, or even walk away from the purchase if the issues are too extensive.

3. Can I attend the pre-approval inspection?

Absolutely! Attending the inspection allows you to ask questions and gain a firsthand understanding of the property’s condition.

4. Does homeowner’s insurance cover the cost of a pre-approval inspection?

No, homeowner’s insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost of a pre-approval inspection. It’s considered a one-time expense associated with the home buying process.

5. What happens if the inspector misses something?

While rare, it’s possible for the inspector to miss something. This is why it’s important to choose a qualified and experienced inspector and to have realistic expectations about the scope of the inspection

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