Home Inspections

I recently posted a brief survey on proposed legislation that would assure that all home buyers have the opportunity to have a professional inspection done before finally committing to the purchase of a home.

Traditionally, home buyers make their initial offer to buy a home contingent on a professional home inspection. The buyer reserves the right to renegotiate or withdraw if the home inspection identifies major defects. In the current sellers’ market, many buyers are waiving the inspection contingency in their offers. Some horror stories about undiscovered defects have emerged in central Massachusetts where there are a number of homes built on defective concrete foundations requiring very expensive repairs.

The thrust of the proposed legislation is to make the inspection contingency unwaiveable except in family transactions. Because home purchases are so important, we need to think through all the possible consequences of the legislation.

The survey results are below and offer a lot of food for thought. I thank everyone who responded and welcome further comments through the form further below.

Survey logistics

The survey was distributed by email to my office subscriber list on March 19 at 10AM and was recirculated by others to other lists. The survey remained open until March 21 at 2PM. Of the over 5,000 people who were notified of the survey, 767 completed it. There were no instances of the same IP address and browser repeating entries within a ten minute period.

Most respondents to the survey (84%) replied within the first 12 hours. Of those primary respondents, only 3% were realtors. Of the 16% who replied after 12 hours, 25% were realtors, suggesting a targeted secondary distribution of the anonymous survey. There were not more than 4 respondents in any other professional group.

There was also apparently a secondary distribution among home inspectors. After initially posting this report, I received an inquiry from a home inspector questioning how it could be that only 4 respondents disclosed themselves as inspectors. He said two entities had sent “more than one email blast to well over 200+ home inspectors.” He said further that “I have personally spoken to over 20+ home inspectors who have completed the survey.” If this correspondent was not exaggerating, it is possible that some inspectors replied to the survey in support of the legislation without disclosing their interest. I am nonetheless confident in the finding reported in the tables below that people without a business interest in the legislation overwhelmingly support it. A spot check of the respondents in just the first hour after I sent the survey out, most of whom had to be constituents on my list, showed results consistent with the rest of the survey (208 of 254 or 82% supporting the legislation). Moreover, my primary distribution was much larger than the stated secondary distribution to home inspectors.

A spreadsheet of the raw results may be downloaded here. The sheet excludes comments, some of which include identifying information.

Tabulated Results

The main take aways from the tabulation of the coded survey results are very clear:

  • Among respondents who do not do real estate as a business, there is strong support for the bill (80%).
  • Support is strongest among those who have never purchased a home (92%).
  • Among respondents who are realtors, there is opposition (86%).

Overall, a lop-sided majority felt that buyers need more protection. This lop-sided response is impressive because it appears from the comments that some may have slightly misunderstood the legislation, believing that it would actually mandate inspections, imposing a cost and obligation on the buyer, as opposed to protecting the right of buyers to an inspection if they choose one.

Oppose/support vs. disclosed business interest (N=767)

No disclosed business interestBusiness interestBusiness interest (Realtors only)
Support % of Total80%28%14%

Oppose/support vs. experience purchasing a home
(including only those with no disclosed business interest) (N=695)

Never bought a homeBought one homeBought and sold one or more homes
Support % of Total92%83%74%

Free form comments — takeaways

Approximately 400 respondents offered “further thoughts”. My major takeaways from this generous response are as follows:

  • The major philosophical split is between those who feel buyers need protection and those who feel that government should not attempt to further regulate a complex private transaction as to which time-tested rules have already been developed.
  • For me, the most compelling arguments offered for passing the legislation are:
    • First-time buyers are especially vulnerable, lacking the experience to assess the risks that they are taking on by avoiding an inspection.
    • Allowing offers without inspection contingencies gives the upper hand to the flippers and the real estate trust investors who are contributing to high local prices by bringing in out-of-state demand.
  • For me, the most compelling argument against the legislation is that sellers can be sometimes be the vulnerable party and may need to make a quick, clean sale.
    • They do not necessarily have equity in their home.
    • They do not necessarily have superior understanding of all of their building systems.
    • They may need protection from unscrupulous buyers who game the inspection process to keep their options open.
  • Concerns about drafting of the legislation include:
    • Should all types of homes be included? Large condominium buildings? Small condominium buildings? Recently constructed homes?
    • What additional transactions should be exempted beyond family transactions? Estate sales where the seller has especially limited knowledge of the property being sold? Recently purchased homes being resold? Should it matter why the home is being resold — flipping, job loss, relocation, death in the family? Should it matter if the seller has a disability?
    • How can the legislation be enforceable? What stops a buyer from whispering that they have no intention of exercising the contingency? If we create heavy penalties for this behavior, will we generate litigation and will we need to be unfairly heavy handed in response to behavior resulting from ignorance of the rules?

There are a host of other important thoughts in the comments below, including suggestions for heavier handed interventions creating stronger liabilities for sellers in real estate transactions. Overall, I remain very interested in the legislation, but feel that we need give it more refinement and consideration before moving to pass it.

Free form comments verbatim

“Further thoughts” from survey respondents appear below, grouped into those who disclosed no business interest and those who did disclose an interest (mostly realtors). The survey form stated: “Your thoughts may be included in a public compilation of responses, but you will not be identified. This survey is anonymous.” In compiling and posting these comments I have not edited them except to remove names and phone numbers where supplied. Nor have I omitted any comments, although a few were off topic.

People not disclosing a business interest

I’ve never bought a home so I don’t have direct experience, but I think this law is similar to a “lemon law” for cars: Sellers are naturally incentivized to sell goods quickly and without restrictions that weren’t expressly stated. But certain goods are important enough to warrant additional protections for the buyer. Buyers have a right to shelter themselves and their families in a place whose true condition and fitness are known, and this law would protect them from sellers who may be uninformed in the best case or willfully dishonest or deceptive in the worst case.

When I bought a vacation home in Vermont, the realtors pressured me to waive the inspection. I was very reluctant to do so, but the market was so hot was afraid I would lose the house. We came to an agreement that I would do a couple of inspections, well, water, chimney, flue, and anything else that would be a substantial cost to repair. The seller agreed to reimburse me for any major repairs over $10k.. we found that the chimney had cracked tiles inside that cost $6000 to repair. The seller credited the sale price for that $6000 and we were both happy. I got a beautiful house he got a lot of cash upfront!

Refusing the inspection as a seller is a red flag. Using the fire sale tactics will not benefit general population

I know people who have paid for inspections and still been left with costly repairs for items that inspectors didn’t find and there was no recourse against the inspector. There is an additional cost to inspections that could keep some people from being able to purchase a home. I think it should be the decision of the purchaser to do the inspection or not. Once you make it mandatory the cost of inspections will go up because the industry will know you have to do it and have no choice but to pay them.

Without requiring more of home inspectors/inspections, many of whom/which are of dubious value, this is just a giveaway to the home inspection industry.

What about the scenario where a homeowner has an inspection done on a home and makes it available to the buyer?

Many people choose to not have an inspection for various reasons. Enough with the limitations. Let people decide for themselves and take responsibility for their choices!

I think if someone chooses to sell “as is” it’s implied there are issues- but it might give buyers an opportunity to buy a property which they plan on purchasing as a tear down and just want the location. If this law passes it may just increase costs for buyers who are looking for redevelopment opportunities. I still think sellers should be required to report all known issues and conditions.

I have bought and sold two homes. I think the home inspection is a valuable tool that helps the buyer understand exactly what they’re purchasing.

Anything we can do to protect first time home buyers both financially and legally would go really far in this region. It’s already nearly unaffordable to many people to even consider buying property here. This is a small step that at least puts a part of the bidding process on level-terms with everyone. I’m imagining it’s very frustrating to people who are stretching with an offer only to be easily outbid by someone with the resources to waive an inspection and deal with the consequences. Or to have an offer accepted only to find they will need to invest much more for structural repairs.

About 4 1/2 years ago we purchased a condo in a brand new development. The sales office attempted to disuade us from hiring a home inspector. They required us to get one that had a specific certification, thereby limiting who we could hire. We were very grateful for the inspection, as he pointed out a number of things that the builder subsequently agreed to fix. So, whether you buy an existing home or a brand new home, having an objective 3rd party look it over with you, in my opinion, is money well spent.

This seems like an essential protection for home buyers. Of course, it does limit their freedom of action by not allowing them to decide to take their chances, but taking chances on the safety of the most expensive acquisition of one’s life seems like a freedom that is not worth the risks.

This situation seems to be, at its heart, a transfer of risk from the seller to the buyer. By foregoing *any* inspection, a huge amount of risk is transferred to the buyer. I’m not an expert on the mechanics of home purchasing, but I wonder whether there is a middle ground. For example:

What if in the case of no qualified home inspection, a substantial portion (10%) of the purchase price must be put in escrow for a substantial waiting period (1 year?). If during that time, out-of-code issues with the house require the new owner to spend more than a certain amount (10% of the purchase price?) on repairs, the money in escrow is subject to garnishment to pay for additional repairs.

The details here might not work, but the principle is what’s important: make it somewhat risky for the seller, as well as the buyer, to proceed with the transaction in the absence of a qualified home inspection.

Another possibility might be to allow the seller to purchase a written home inspection from a qualified inspector, and to share that inspection report with all sellers.

We had an inspection on our current house before we bought it. However, after the fact we found out that the inspection was sub-par. So I don’t know if it is practical but I would like to see the bill passed but also to find a way to assure some basic standards for inspections are in place.

I was always allowed to inspect the home I was buying without restrictions.

Cash is king there is no way around it

Consider that the home inspection is as good as the inspector hired. Is it also helpful to have a discussion as to what options exist for home buyers when a home inspection misses problems with a home?

It should be the choice of the buyer.

I would always choose to have a home inspection, even if am in a situation where the sellers say “no contingencies”.

It’s best to know as much as possible about the property. When we bought our first home, the inspection helped us prioritize a to-do list.

If there was something critically wrong with the property, losing your deposit might be the better option. I imagine that an inspector might not pick up on faulty concrete. That may require a structural engineer. It’s hard to legislate for all possible problems, but some protection is better than none.

Thanks for your thoughtful work, as always, Will.

A home owner should have the right to refuse an offer if it affects the asking price of the home. My guess is that the greedy state of Massachusetts would somehow charge a fee for the inspection, as they seem to find a way of taxing or surcharging everything in the state.

We were lucky that our realtor knew an inspector who was able to do pre-inspections for us but it still made me so nervous. It puts more liability on the inspector who is rushed, it means we had to spend money up front on homes we didn’t even have our offers accepted on, and we almost bought one home where the sellers refused to let us have an inspection. I know it is a sellers market but the buyers are getting taken advantage of every which way and I’d love to see this pass so inspections are NOT waived.

The market is tilted toward better-off buyers because they can (a) make cash or high-down-payment offers, and (b) they don’t mind waiving inspection. Home inspectors will do a “pre-offer” inspection, the buyer’s agent brings them in. It’s “walk and talk” — they spend an hour or two for a flat fee, no written report.

I feel for sellers too. Seems like buyers can use the inspection as an excuse to walk away after tying up a transaction until the last minute. Maybe a caveat for findings being safety or a higher dollar amount / very unexpected? Obviously any negotiations can still happen. Just trying to support all… Good luck!

Market conditions shouldn’t force a buyer to make a huge n investment in a home without a home inspection. Sellers shouldn’t have that much leverage in the transaction.

When I bought my home, I was fortunate in that there were few competing offers and I did not have to waive my contingency to have an inspection. (I live in JP where the market is hot.) I would have been very uncomfortable buying a home without it. I have some very limited experience working on homes, but I did not feel qualified to try to assess the structural integrity of the building without professional help; I imagine that’s true for the vast majority of people. If there were a state law requiring a home inspection, then it would just build this in as part of the process rather than leaving it to dangle as a bargaining chip.

Just common sense…

Many factors here, like: who bears the cost, is the cost of inspection unreasonable to mandate, should the state be protecting people who don’t want to be protected, are all inspectors licensed and bonded, would a bill that requires not an inspection but that certain ‘faults’ be remedied after the sale (financially or otherwise) be better?

Might the bill instead require an inspection by the seller at the outset, the results of which are shared with each prospective buyer, and the cost shared equally with the final buyer?

Bottom line is protection for buyers.

Every buyer has the right to insist on a home inspection. We don’t need a law to require this and these types of laws always have unintended consequences.

If the owner of the home they are interested in buying discourages an inspection, the buyer should use common sense and walk away. There are other homes for sale. It’s poor judgment when buyers are so desperate to buy that they waive the inspection and it’s at their peril that they do this. But ultimately it should be the buyer’s decision to make.

I am both a contractor and a home owner.

I can tell you that home inspections are a scam by an industry of people who are only interested in looking like they are providing a service. EVERY inspection report has contingencies that absolve them from any responsibilities for things that they did not see or look for. They also charge a lot of money for this service that they are taking no responsibility for. People should be able to do their own inspections with a home inspection form. This could be government provided or people can use this form as many people I know have used.

See the free form here;


Inspections should not have to be mandated as every home inspector I have ever met is not interested in providing a service but only interested in making an easy buck. Adding insult to injury you have to pay a lot of money to existing home inspectors to get into this easy money making club. The Home Inspection industry is a SCAM! From personal experience.

Happy to talk with you anytime if you want to really fix this problem.

If this bill includes everyone, house flippers and contractors, as well as individuals, I’m all for it, with one caveat. The mandated home inspection should be affordable, covering basic areas of home structure. As there exists now, there’s a great difference among the thoroughness of private home inspections and the cost reflects that. I think people should be able to have a prospective property evaluated for basic problems without forfeiting their chance to close a deal before some cash buyer with no need for inspection snaps it up .

If a contractor is buying a tear-down, it seems silly to force them to have an inspection

Sellers should be required to furnish energy costs- utility bills . And energy efficiency measures.

Most homes in Massachusetts are older and buyers should be allowed under the law to have an inspection.

Also, most sellers are unaware of hidden defects, so why not let both parties agree to an inspection and expose the costly repairs? If any.

Home repair costs are through the roof – please protect all consumers.

In Cambridge (because of the “hot” market), we lost several homes because the seller accepted an offer from another buyer who left out the home inspection requirement from their bid. We were urged by the agent to take the risky move of removing the inspection if we wanted a home in Cambridge.

No one is forced to buy anything. As you allude to in this message, the current state of the market is temporary and it is not a reason to further interfere with the market. Generally speaking, it is possible for most buyers to do a limited assessment of the house before making an offer (e.g., by bringing an inspector to an open house). This is an extreme example, but it makes the exceptional point that the spectrum runs from the few houses where this isn’t CURRENTLY possible through this scenario and on to the majority of homes where inspections take place. Further, offers with inspection contingency limits can be made to still make a competitive offer even without an absolute inspection waiver.

caveat emptor.

mind your own business is a core value of our forefathers and for good reason.

If a buyer makes the mistake of buying a bad deal then it is a valuable lesson in business – likely will not be repeated.

Not the governments responsibility to get involved.

My wife and I are looking to buy a house for the first time. In all of our offer letters we include a home inspection contingency.

Buying a house is the most expensive purchase of one’s life. It is unrealistic to expect one to make such a major decision solely on a 15 min open house viewing of the house’s inside.

This is a good idea. Making it required (like health insurance, or a driver’s license) just makes this a normal part of the process again, and not dangling the inspection as an ambiguous ‘will they or won’t they’ bargaining chip. Thanks for sending out this survey Will, much appreciated!

There is already plenty of dishonesty in real estate dealings, compounded by market pressures to act fast before someone else gets the property by outbidding, or forgoing an inspection, certain hopeful buyers may very sensibly desire.

During a long ago year in the real estate business, I got tired of hearing “Some fool will buy it!”. An inspection can make all the difference between being made a fool of by some shady aspects of a deal, or making an informed decision, free of untoward market pressures scaring the buyer off an inspection.

Seems sensible and reasonable

If you are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without knowing what you are getting, you are a chump and deserve what you get. Buyer beware!

It seems to me that people should have the right to decline a home inspection before purchase, knowing that to do so is taking a high level of risk. I don’t think it should be legislated as a requirement, even though I think it would be a mistake for a buyer not to do an inspection.

Although I think home inspections are really important for buyers, I don’t think they should be mandatory. Some people have their own expertise in this area. Would they be able to waive the inspection? Unintended consequences is the home inspection industry would boom, would this be a good thing? How would we regulate the “inspection service industry?”I purchased my last home without an inspection and I don’t have any regrets. Free will is free will. It’s a bit silly to force this on home sellers as well.

I buy and sell homes between 20-25 homes per year. This is a HORRIBLE IDEA.

This will allow buyers to put offers on homes and then back out with no repercussions, disrupting the seller and the marketability of that sellers home.

I’ve seen buyer use this contingency as an “out” because they got cold feet, received an accepted offer on another property, etc. It will be a way to reserve a property, take it away from more serious buyers and negatively impact the sale for the seller

Once the property comes “back on the market” all the other buyers wonder what’s wrong with the property and puts a red flag on the house.

Let the market speak for itself.

I’m wondering if the bill is passed how it would affect buyers who are turned away after a poor inspection. I’m also wondering what this would do for the cost. Should the sellers have some boundaries ?

This can only protect both buyer and seller. Buyers can effectively “waive” if they want the sale regardless of any inspection finding by having the inspection and not requesting any changes to the agreement. This bill provides more house info and supplements the info that Mass sellers must disclose to buyers.

We bought our first home in 1978 and the home inspection was key to our purchase since the home had had a fire so financing would have been a major challenge without the inspection. We downsized to a Brighton condo 4 years ago (during Covid) and a home inspection was key to selling our house during Covid and our condo inspection identified a few minor issues but gave us comfort that the condo met all reasonable standards.

We waived inspection on our home in Belmont to make our offer competitive (this was 2016). We discovered some shady things much later – it would have been very nice to know up front to budget differently. It seems wrong to allow this – it puts too much burden on folks who are making decisions super fast (buyers in a very tight market). We are lucky that what we found is not structural and we can deal with it in our own time.

The problem with creating this right is that it will create more of a captive market for home inspection services. As with the requirement for title insurance, it will mean that providers of the service will likely charge much more, and provide services of lower quality.

It would be better to focus on the core problem, which is not that not enough home inspections are being formed but that some buyers are getting hit with unexpected costs to fix defects that were not disclosed properly by the seller. A more tailored remedy would be to make the seller liable for double the cost to fix any defect that was not fully disclosed during the sale process.

I found it extremely helpful to have a professional opinion on my major purchase!

I don’t think I would ever buy another house without having a positive home inspection as a contingency factor in the purchase and sale agreement. That said, I don’t think an inspection should be mandatory if the buyer wishes to make a purchase offer without having one and thus, make his or her offer more competitive.

With the housing shortage in Massachusetts, many buyers get desperate and are forced to go well above list and waive the inspection contingency. This is not helped by the amount of private equity that often buys homes.

I’d say okay to the bill but first I’d like to explore regulation or some sort of complianace by realtors and sellers to clearly allow buyers to make their inspection.

It would make it a more even playing field to buy a home in MA and take away some of the sellers power. Please pass this bill so that I can finally purchase a home in MA.

While the most likely beneficiary is the first-time buyer, I’m rather unsure about the utility of this legislation. On the one hand, many buyers are totally naive in grasping the many ways that homeownership can turn into a disaster resulting from serious issues with their purchase, so waiving the right to an inspection could increase the risks of buying a property. Generally, more information is always better, and in the home purchases that I’ve been involved in, the inspection report came in handy to negotiate the final price or potentially to walk away from a deal without being penalized. On the other hand, having tagged along on several home inspections, they tend towards the readily visible and anyone with a reasonably sharp eye can identify the same issues, while the less obvious and potentially far more costly problems may go unnoticed. Thus even for the novice buyer the home inspection is not the security blanket that many folks think it is.

This is a very good idea to keep people from being pressured to waive an important step like an inspection. It will keep folks honest. Can you add steps to make sure that inspection is honest? Or to reduce costs & make purchasing a home more affordable?

I’ve had a lot of friends purchase houses in MA (and it other states) in the last 2-3 years and many have had to waive the inspection in order to even have a shot at having a competitive offer in this chaotic housing market.

In my conversations with them, I have heard their concerns about hidden issues related to health and safety, as well costly to their savings and budgets. As someone that is hoping to wade into the housing hunting myself, I echo their concerns. I don’t want to waive an inspection that will protect me as a homebuyer. I either want to know the full extent of the repairs I’ll need to make to a new home or pass on the opportunity.

I just feel that buying a house should be respected as an investment into a person or family’s future. Meanwhile sellers should have to respect and honor the current conditions of their home. In the current economic conditions, I can’t quite blame sellers for trying to get the best price for their homes. But it’s still unfair to the buyers to enter into such a large financial transaction with their eyes blindfolded and their hands tied behind their back.

I strongly believe that this legislation will make this process fair and equitable for the buyers. It will also hold sellers accountable to be honest and transparent about the condition of their house. From there both parties can enter into the transaction with the same amount of information and decide from their what’s a fair price.

I’m actually very excited to see this on the legislative docket in MA and I do hope it gets passed. I honestly have such cold feet about becoming a homeowner due to issues like this.

It’s the buyer’s choice. And it’s a bargaining chip. if someone is willing to forego the inspection they could get the house. Yes there might be horror stories but unless they were forced against their will to buy this house, that’s on them. There are plenty of purchases in my life that selfishly, it would have been nice for government to come negate my bad decision. But that would be silly.

I have sufficient knowledge of construction and electrical/hvac/plumbing that I did my own inspection prior to buying our house. I feel others may be able to do the same or have family/friends who can do that and should not be required to hire a third party to perform an inspection.

While I understand the desire to protect buyers who would like an inspection but may be competing with other buyers willing to waive the inspection, I think this is a misguided effort. I am opposed to removing the option to waive an inspection from buyers who don’t think an inspection will add much to their protection and don’t want to spend the money on one. And I fear this legislation is likely to become a “full employment act” for a rush of new home inspectors who will be guaranteed income streams from this requirement, raising the cost to buyers who would have been willing to purchase without an inspection. Then the state will have to regulate the credentials of inspectors and perhaps the prices they can charge. Please resist the temptation.

My parents bought their Queen Anne back before home inspections were common. Fortunately they had a engineer friend who came and looked it over for them though whether this was before or after they made an offer I don’t know. They owned a smaller house before that. At that point they had no engineer friend. They told us later that the house turned out to have silverfish and a few other insect pests that they self-treated with bug bombs from Sears and that when we moved the silverfish did not come along. I’ve only bought one home but my children and nephew and niece have all purchased houses in recent years in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Carolina and they all had a home inspection which I think is necessary so I hope this bill goes through.

Economic theory assumes both sides in a transaction have equal information. But clearly sellers have more information than buyers in a real estate transaction. Such a law would help balance the market power between the two sides (buyers should not be forced into a blind position just to be able to purchase a home). It would not only make the market more fair, but also more efficient.

Caveat emptor.

Buyers who are considering waving the inspection to make their offer more attractive should receive a notice of the potential dangers of that choice

This bill protects people and their hard earned money period.

Homebuyers are not currently forced to buy a home without doing an inspection.

This legislation would not be helpful at all.

What would be helpful is to stop tearing down single-family homes in favor of building rat trap overpriced apartments, that are not family friendly, that nobody’s going to live in long-term.

And to stop tearing down two and three family homes too in our Boston neighborhoods too.

This legislation is nothing but virtue signaling. Clownish at best. Just my opinion.

People are passing on home inspections because there’s not enough quality housing to purchase in Boston, and you know what there never will be.

So, they pass on the home inspection in order to be “more competitive”.

People (including our state legislators) are going to have to realize that to get the home of their dreams at a price that makes sense to them, they may have to move to a neighborhood that’s not currently as “desirable” as the one they live in.

But that’s not an entirely bad thing, is it? That’s how new and better neighborhoods are built. By people who want to invest in them and call them their home.

By the way, you told me when the state passed legislation to give illegals driver’s licenses, that the state legislature didn’t have a plan in place to prevent them from automatically being registered to vote, which happens to all people who apply for driver’s licenses. I’m still waiting for your office to get back to me on how you are going to prevent people who are not legal citizens from being registered to vote when they get their driver’s license.

Homebuyers are not currently forced to buy a home without doing an inspection.

This legislation would not be helpful at all.

What would be helpful is to stop tearing down single-family homes in favor of building rat trap overpriced apartments, that are not family friendly, that nobody’s going to live in long-term.

And to stop tearing down two and three family homes too in our Boston neighborhoods too.

This legislation is nothing but virtue signaling. Clownish at best. Just my opinion.

People are passing on home inspections because there’s not enough quality housing to purchase in Boston, and you know what there never will be.

So, they pass on the home inspection in order to be “more competitive”.

People (including our state legislators) are going to have to realize that to get the home of their dreams at a price that makes sense to them, they may have to move to a neighborhood that’s not currently as “desirable” as the one they live in.

But that’s not an entirely bad thing, is it? That’s how new and better neighborhoods are built. By people who want to invest in them and call them their home.

In general, I think requiring inspections is a good idea.

BUT, there must be a path to exceptions…

My wife and I left our two sons (7 and 9 years old) with my parents in Michigan while we traveled to Boston in preparation for my first job in the area. We had five days to find and purchase a home. All went well because the bank who gave us our mortgage did the only inspection needed before closing.

(These were the good-old days. The bank’s president, who lived in Winchester, where the house we had found was, and the executive vice president conducted the inspection, themselves! The bank was Cambridge Trust. Gardner Bradley was the president. Louis Clark was the executive vp.)

My point is that potential buyers with hard deadlines must be able to close.

I would never buy a home without doing an inspection first. In today’s market, where the competition is fierce, people are feeling forced to make an offer without an inspection contingency, in order to have their bid accepted.

We need a floor so that it’s not a race to the bottom for buyers.

Principally it is a good idea, except that the home inspection industry is not standardized, and some RE agents steer prospectives to inspectors who will not provide an impartial inspection. I’ve had home inspections done by idiots who missed the basics. On the other hand, there are many good inspectors out there who are impartial and take the time to educate prospective home buyers. The practice of waiving the inspection contingency has been mostly about attempting to maintain a competitive edge as a buyer. I could see that an inspection maybe required (unwaivable) but not contingent. This might protect prospectives more. It may create a second industry of RE agents who steer buyers towards inspectors, and it may increase the number of bad inspectors simply because demand for any inspectors has increased (and home buying tries to work on rigid timeline).

I have seen the case when the seller agent stopped communicating with me after he learned that I have buying agent. Also I have seen that behavior online. I think there should be a law prohibiting information withheld from the potential buyer. I don’t need the buyer’s agent involved when I check out the property.

As a Buyer I support this bill. As a Seller I hope this bill would put reasonable time limits on the Buyer’s right to complete an inspection.

I had a home inspection and was wonderful, friends did not do an inspection

based on the encouragement of the sellers representative. The have been making needed

repairs ever since, and we are talking years.

Some times you have to protect people from themselves.

There are no lemon laws for the sale of homes. Inspections are the closest you get.

Home inspections are a way to reduce information asymmetry between buyer and seller, and level the playing field since most people buying a home are not home repair or maintenance experts. This is especially important for first time home buyers and a market now where sellers have all the power due to high demand.

I agree that market pressure shouldn’t be allowed to deprive home buyers of the basic protection afforded by an inspection. They’re not perfect, but do guard against disastrous decisions.

Doesn’t feel like the sort of thing that should be required

When I sold my house the inspection revealed $800 worth of needed repairs so I dropped the price $800. This seemed fair to me and to the buyer. Buyers should know what they are buying. Sellers should know what they are selling.

As a millennial Bostonian desperately wanting to stay in the city (or nearby) with my baby daughter and spouse, this bill would make SUCH a huge difference! Many of my friends have been forced to move not only out of the city but out of the state because of competition issues that could be alleviated by the passing of this bill.

For Massachusetts to remain a place where my generation is able to buy a home, changes like this are an absolute must.

Forcing buyers to waive home inspections is just one more way to make homeownership less accessible and affordable. Only wealthy people can afford to take that kind of risk, and it gives them another lever for shouldering other buyers out of the market. It’s also problematic for new homeowners to be saddled by debt and increased financial burdens that they couldn’t have anticipated.

We have had issues when buying a home that we were told we didn’t need an inspection. We still wanted it and saved ourselves lots of money an health issues for asbestos removal. The seller ended up paying for it totally to remove and clean it all up. Best inspection ever for health an welfare.

I can’t imagine buying a home without an inspection first. Having bought and sold more than one home, I’ve also never been so in love with a home that I would be willing to forego this crucial step. Call me a little curmudgeonly – I think this is a case of caveat emptor. You should definitely have the right to require a home inspection, but if you forego, that’s on you.

Great idea.

This is a very important aspect of fairness to buyers.

I feel that in this day and age a home inspection should be required mainly for the protection of the seller. Even family transactions but possibly on a different scale!!!!!

It seems like it will make the market fairer by not allowing buyers who are willing to forgo the inspection to get a leg up on others.

My hope is that this legislation would level the playing field for homeowners when investors and flippers can outbid us.

My personal experience of purchasing 2 properties and selling 1 is that an inspection can be used by nervous/novice buyers to dawdle, negotiate endlessly, and back out for customary disclosures made by the home inspector. However it can also protect novice and experienced home buyers by giving them hard to find insights (I’m never going to crawl around under a house). Still I would make exceptions for Accredited Investors and buyers with more than 2 existing properties in Massachusetts.

Homes should be inspected prior to purchase as a usual part of consumer protection.

If a buyer does not have an inspection they do so at their own peril and the results could be catastrophic.

The buyer should also use an inspection company that has a solid reputation, provides a very detailed report with plenty of pictures. The inspection company should not have a relationship with either the realtor or sellers. Inspectors get a fixed price for evaluating a house so the faster the accomplish their task the more money they make. Depending on the town, they may also be able to provide recommendations.

I have purchased nine and sold eight houses. Some of these transactions included inspections and some did not. Unfortunately most inspections are very superficial and many are done by unqualified people. Mandating inspections will increase the cost of buying a house and will not provide significant value unless the inspectors are much more qualified and the inspections are much more comprehensive.

It is definitely wise to have a home inspection before purchasing to determine necessary repairs, if any. The need of repair can alter the selling price via negotiation.

Mass housing market is nuts, anywhere else buying without inspection would just be stupid.

From a freedom perspective, it does limit people’s rights to buy without, but in practice the market is incentivizing bad behavior.

In this economy, buying a house is plenty hard enough without having to take on the additional risk that, even if you succeed, you might find something that could bankrupt you to fix. You shouldn’t have to waive an inspection just to become a better candidate to the homeowner. Houses are investments, and people have the right to know what they’re buying. This bill is one of many moves that could actually help the housing market crisis in Boston.

Great idea. It would be great to not be at a disadvantage in negotiations by wanting all the facts.

I believe the government has more important things to do than to worry about grown adults making bad decisions. When working with a professional realtor they do not recommend waiving home inspections for the reason you outlined- people selling bad things. Grown adults have the right to gamble if they choose too. Waiving a home inspection is a gamble.

If you pass this bill then people will be paying outrageous amounts of money to get home inspections done quickly there by driving up the prices needlessly. Outbidding each other to get the inspection done sooner. Just another area of the housing market that will become unreasonable.

If a person buys a home and something goes wrong, there is no way the previous owner should be responsible. Regardless if the new owner got an inspection or not.

Home inspections can almost always be expected to turn something up. It would be good if there were limits to what kinds of findings can release the buyer from their commitment. Otherwise the seller is left with quite a lot of uncertainty even though they have a P&S.

I have had a number of friends consider/go through with waiving the inspection in order to get a leg up in bidding wars. These are acts of desperation, not wealthy people. I believe that this requirement is vital to level the playing field for those with limited options in buying and maintaining residences.

This is a matter for negotiation. No buyer has to make any offer without an inspection contingency. If they choose to forego an inspection right to get a bid advantage, they should adhere to the commitment to proceed without one.

This bill clearly tries to establish fairness by preventing unscrupulous sellers or realtors

from foisting known or unknown problems upon unsuspecting buyers; or extorting

one kind of risk (lack of inspection) for the buyer in order to reduce another kind

of risk (loss of the purchase).

I’ve seen this happen MANY times; it should not be tolerated.

This is a good protection for home buyers when the market gets frenzied. My neighbors waived the inspection when they bought the house next door because of bidding wars, and they had a lot of surprises. I would not want to be in that position.

Love this. Anything to make the housing market more equitable is a good step. As a millennial I’ve heard so many horror stories about friends and acquaintances trying to deal with this. I believe it should be illegal to sell a home without the inspection to make home ownership more equally accessible, and to ensure that all homes meet critical safety standards.

Absolute necessity

Seems like a good idea.

I’m wondering if the bill is passed how it would affect buyers who are turned away after a poor inspection. I’m also wondering what this would do for the cost. Should the sellers have some boundaries ?

Please remove the “waiving the inspection” to make an offer more competitive. Level the playing field.

While buyers and sellers should be free to negotiate whatever sort of offer they deem fit for the house, I think the pressure to waive inspections puts an unfair burden on first time or less advantaged home buyers. A buyer’s ability to waive an inspection gives them a leg up in the purchasing process, which pressures other buyers to do the same. Not all buyers can take the financial fall out when major issues arise after closing due to them waiving the inspection. This law would force all buyers to compete on a more even playing field, without having to bear the risk caused by waiving an inspection.

I think that not having a home inspection is a bad thing but so tempting for both the buyer and the seller. Eliminating the decision is best.

When we bought our home as first time, young, buyers, a home inspection was done because we thought that’s what was done. GOOD THING we did one. We learned that termites had eaten through a front porch pillar and part of the roof, in addition to the picket fence bordering the back yard. I hate to think of how much damage could have been done by the time we discovered this on our own. This was in a lovely neighborhood in Watertown where one would never expect horrific termite damage.

I hope this bill passes.

I’m in a condo but I think every buyer should know what they’re getting into. I think the State should also provide a list of certified home inspectors as well as a list of what they check

This seems like good consumer protection legislation, helping buyers who otherwise would be tempted to waive inspection in order to provide a competitive offer in a seller’s market. Buyers would have more information in making one of their most significant purchasing decisions, although presumably they would have to pay for the home inspections.

I am in the midst of purchasing a home but because we are in the middle I selected that I have not purchased a home yet. The home that we are looking at is old and the owner no longer lives in it or even in the US anymore. In negotiating the price, we decided that the inspection was informational and that we would not hold the seller to fixing any major issues that would be unearthed during the inspection, but that we still reserved the right to walk away if any foundational issues were uncovered. Ultimately, the inspection did not expose anything that prompted us to walk away.

I think this legislation is important to protect buyers, especially in an economy that biases the sellers. Potential buyers, many like myself, trying to buy their first home in unfamiliar areas, are at a severe disadvantage. Sellers, cashing in on the opportunity to make back and more what they have invested in the property, are not even obligated to fix issues if the inspection has been waived.

Obviously it is prudent for buyers to get a home inspection, and I could understand a public information campaign warning of the risks of waiving inspections, or highlighting concerns about concrete foundations. But I don’t see how legislation focusing on this specific point in the purchase process will meaningfully shift market power. And if all family transactions are legitimate exceptions, I can imagine SOME other transactions might be — perhaps, on the high-trust end, for non-family members who have longstanding familiarity with the property; or, on the other extreme, for some “fire sales” or distress sales. I see value in educating first-time home buyers, and in penalizing developers who install defective foundations (or towns whose officials approved shoddy construction). But I would not favor legislation focused on restricting waiveability.

Thank you for sponsoring this legislation!

When I purchased my first home nearly 40 years ago the sellers tried to take advantage of us. They presented as an older couple who had done this many times and could share what they’d learned.In fact they were doing some pretty shady things. Waiving the inspection can save time and may seem reasonable in a lot of circumstances but mostly I think it hurts buyers.

The cost of housing in Belmont is now sky high. It seems crucial that an inspection be mandatory and be done before the sale is final so any problems are out in the open.

This is necessary legislation to protect buyers and also the quality of homes in MA. First-time home buyers face multiple stresses today including high interest rates, limited inventory, competition from developers and private equity firms buying entry-level homes. The people deserve the ability to bid offers on a home with the security of their purchase through a home inspection.

I am currently trying to buy a home, and my offers keep getting passed up because other buyers are willing to waive inspections (and other contingencies as well!) to be “competitive”. It’s already a difficult market due to the exploding home prices and mortgage rates, and adding in additional risks by waiving contingencies is simply unethical.

People should be free to decide for themselves whether a home insection is necessary or not. The state should not be responsible for protecting everyone from their own business decisions.

Home inspections are critical to arrive at a fair price between a buyer and a seller. Home purchases are the biggest investments most people make, and having laws to keep the playing field fair are similar to the laws we have for other major investments (e.g., stocks, bonds, and mutual funds). Recent crypto-currency debacles demonstrate what happens when unregulated markets expand rapidly in inflationary times.

The language will be key. If the right to an inspection is not classified as a contingency that may be the direction to go. In other words if the buyer wants an inspection the seller should not hold that against them in the transaction. the issue of making it mandatory for example could cause unwanted, unforeseen problems that is being alluded to in that there are so many home inspectors, that cost could dramatically change, and how does it fir in reality and effectively rather than simply theoretically must be clearly answered. the idea makes sense, is valid but needs to be properly put in place if this moved forward. Pros and cons would be good to see especially from those in the industry both professionally and in the town/government sectors.

I can understand in the hot market that people would waive this naïvely. It’s a terrible risk and I think this would make a level playing field that all buyers have to do the inspection.

I had a home inspection but the inspector said nothing of the faulty roof or siding I had to replace after we purchased it. If I didn’t I would be uninsurable and now stuck paying high interest rates on a HELOC and now I’m broke because of the high interest rates.

Home inspection has been a very important part of the transaction in purchasing a home, guiding a potential buyer into knowing about any potential structural issues, large or small. Depending on the inspection result, if there are significant problems a buyer could either choose not to pursue the purchase, and/or negotiate the cost of the home based on necessary repairs.

To agree not to have a home inspection may come out of a fear of a “bidding war”, but sadly, as you pointed out, examples do exist of significant problems being discovered afterwards, costing the new homeowner a great deal of money, and perhaps even impacting whether they could sell the home in the future. We know that a new home buyer may not fully grasp the potential consequences in not having an inspection, and so this law would be wise to protect all citizens of the Commonwealth. Would very much support it.

The current “feeding frenzy” in the real estate market puts buyers at a severe disadvantage. This makes it all too easy for sellers to unload properties with major defects on unsuspecting sellers. I support this legislation .

Im not sure I understand the bill. Does it effectively make home inspections mandatory? What about condos and other simple construction types of homes that don’t have much potential for hidden defects? Shouldn’t they be exempt from the cost of a home inspection if they so desire? Or, if a recent home inspection has been completed (within say 2 or 3 years) and available for review, would that suffice if the buy so desires? Or, if the buyer is skilled and believes that they are capable of such an evaluation? Or, what form or format of inspection is required…a licensed home inspector exclusively, or someone who is self selected or self identified as qualified and knowledgeable, such as a building contractor/renovator? who may be working with the buyer or known to the buyer?

Inspections can cost a lot of $$ because of the credentialing and licensing.

Some of the most organic farming isn’t labeled “organic” because the cost and burden to achieve and maintain such certification is very high!! Same for some highly skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable people in the residential building industry.

This sounds like a very good idea that will help level the playing ground a little bit

Protect the right to home inspection- no waivers-

In a competitive market here is a reason that people choose to buy a home without being contingent on an inspection, as I have done in the past. I think we should find another way to encourage inspections without requiring them. If you have been through a closing, you will recognize that every paper you sign is related to a particular law making the process cumbersome. Maybe offer a $500 tax write-off covering inspections on a primary residence?

Legislation to limit investment companies purchasing residential real estate in large amounts to turn into rental properties is also greatly needed.

I agree that the need for expensive repairs must be identified prior to a buyer committing to purchase a property and a home inspection is the best way to do that.

In this market buyers are coerced into waiving inspections if they want their offer to even be considered. We recently purchased a home after spending months looking. We paid for a pre-purchase inspection on two homes, one of which we made an offer on which was not successful and one which which found potentially serious defects leading us to de use against an offer. We couldn’t afford to do a pre-offer inspection on every house we liked – one thorough inspection cost $1,200 – so we ended up buying one without an inspection. It had been extensively renovated so seemed a safe bet, yet we have found problems already which an inspection would have found. This legislation would prevent sellers from hiding serious defects in the hot real estate market we live in today.

Out home was fallling-down. It had boarded up windows, a stream that ran through the basement and emptied into the sewer line with a hand-rigged sump pump. It had termites and many other problems, etc. The inspection revealed things that we never would have seen, including leaking pipes.

We went ahead because it was in our price bracket and had four bedrooms. And we used that home inspection to fix everything listed. That inspection report is at least an inch thick.

You have seen our house. We set about addressing every single problem. We now have a dry basement, no open sewer line, etc. And we have lived here well.

That inspection was worth its entire fee and then some. We actually had bid on another house, had an inspection that revealed an issue we wanted to split the cost of with the sellers. They wouldn’t split the expense of the repair, and we walked away.

Don’t include my thoughts or list my name.

Frauduent RE inspection services/non-existent adherence to building code laws and health/safety concerns have allowed sellers and contractors to get away with murder—all while MA RE has continued to become an obscenely expensive and this, in turn, is due to the fortunes its garnered that have essentially allowed people to buy their way out of bad inspections. Can’t see this changing any time soon, but passage of this legi would help temper extremes.

I’m an inactive real estate broker. That is, I keep my license active, but am retired and, so, haven’t used it in years but could. I wouldn’t sell to anyone without an inspection — or an attorney, for that matter.

Lack of an inspection potentially creates so many problems as evidenced in your comments on central MA houses. And the problems are headaches for both buyer and seller. Did seller purposely conceal defects? How can that be proved? The issue, and others, could tie up a sale &/or involve litigation for a very long time.

Mandated home inspections protect all parties.

People should be able to choose to . I’ve bought two houses. I had both inspected. Neither inspection was worth the money. In particular, the most recent one missed a quite obvious roof leak that has continued to be a problem. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I next buy a house, but I’d like the choice.

I think people need to be careful about big commitments, but what ‘careful’ means can differ. Forcing a costly home inspection just adds to closing costs. If a home was sold last year and passed and inspection then, for example, why should I have to pay for another inspection when I buy it this year.

Legislation could be a little more nuanced. For example, if a seller provides documentation that the home passed inspection within the past five year, could that suffice?

Choices have consequences.

Seems to make sense! Waiving home inspections also provides undue burden on those who can’t take on the bigger risk of a larger problem with the home. Also the possibility of waiving home inspections can lead to fraud.

The larger issue is the lack of quality affordable housing in our cities and state.

From a consumer protection perspective – this bill is needed. I have followed this “trend” to basically pressure prospective buyers into waiving a home inspection and it

has the trappings of an unfair trade practice. It could cause substantial injury to consumers which under the circumstances leave consumers without an alternative – walk away and try again but if this practice is widespread – there may not be a viable alternative and lastly, the practice of pressuring buyers to forgo inspections has no countervailing benefit to consumer welfare or competition.

Unfortunately this legislation appears to be necessary.

Is title insurance required or did President Biden eliminate it as a requirement?

There should always be an opportunity for an inspection!

I think it is crazy to buy a house without having an inspection. I’d rather lose out on a home than do that.

I have two concerns with the proposed legislation (at least as summarized in your question). First, although some (or maybe many) potential buyers may not have the foggiest idea about the details of home design, construction, or maintenance, other potential buyers may have considerable knowledge and experience and are perfectly capable of doing their own due diligence. Therefore, I do not advocate forcing every aspiring buyer to hire an independent inspector. Secondly, I do not advocate any legislation that would force a seller to correct any “problems” that an inspector reports.

I would not buy a home without an inspection, but will not stand in the way of others taking the risk.

This is a great idea and is incredibly consumer-centric. The current market without inspections is an opportunity for abuse to occur at all levels.

When I bought my first condo 20+ years ago, the inspector found a small crack in the furnace. Had there been no inspection, I would’ve been out $5000 for a new one. Instead, the home sellers had to buy a new one but I negotiated to contribute $1000 and convert from oil to natural gas.

This is smart legislation – more information is better in these types of transactions.

One more government intrusion in your private life. As an adult you should have the option of seeking a home inspection not mandated!

My husband and I are currently looking to buy a home in the Cambridge area. Many agents have advised us to waive the inspection clause. With the very old buildings in this area we didn’t feel comfortable with that. We had to spend a lot of effort to find an agent who understood that we wanted to keep the inspection. We have lost to others who waived that clause. After 4 bids and 4 losses, we have not given up and we are staying true to our value to evaluate the home – many of which are 100+ years old. I strongly support having laws to protect home buyers and require inspections.

This takes an important negotiating chip off the table for buyers who may not be flush with cash and puts sellers in a situation where they could lose a signed deal at the whim of the buyer, creating a costly transition. While every buyer should have the right to have an inspection, forcing a contingency interferes with the market. It’s also unclear what “major defect” means here. That is a very subjective term.

Inspections often miss problems. Can they be standardized?

The homebuying market in Massachusetts is insane, so unfortunately desperate buyers are forced to go to extreme lengths to try to get their offers accepted, including doing risky things like waiving the inspection contingency. I think this bill would go a long way in making the homebuying process a little less stressful. Yes, it would make things less favorable for the seller, but it’s already such a strong seller’s market that I think we need to even the playing field a little bit. Thanks for thinking about this and raising the issue.

It’s protection for the buyer, but it’s a safety issue for the whole community.

Inspections are very important!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We saw this problem when my brother purchased a condo last fall in Acton. We were very troubled by the fact that he was advised to waive the inspection in order to get have his bid accepted.

We live in a 100 year old home and knew from our inspection that there were potential issues with lead paint and just due to the age of the house. Having the inspection eased our concerns and made us aware of the lead and where it is in the house. Since we had a 1 year old, it mattered to us but we understood what risks we were assuming. It was fine in the end.

tl;dr: I had never heard of this bill before getting your email today. I support it, but I do not think the enforcement provisions are strong enough,

Why I support the bill: The competition to buy houses is insanely intense. The lack of guaranteed inspection rights as promised by this bill gives a big advantage to buyers who can afford the risk, or who can afford to (secretly) bring a contractor/inspector with them to a showing or open house, or who are developers that plan to tear down the house anyway so do not care about its condition. It forces many buyers to take risks they cannot afford to take.

Why I think the enforcement provisions are not strong enough:

Buyers and sellers will both be motivated to work around the guaranteed inspection rights. Suppose that Buyer A makes an offer and tells the seller on the side that they will not do an inspection, and that Buyer B makes an offer but does not secretly waive the inspection. The seller chooses to sell to Buyer A. Buyer B is harmed, but there is no way for Buyer B to know that, so the seller and Buyer A will get away with it.

My layman’s analysis of the enforcement provisions:

“Section 4. Any seller who fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to the prospective purchaser for all damages caused by the failure to comply.

I interpret this to mean that if, in my scenario above, Buyer A secretly waives the inspection and then has to make repairs, the seller is on the hook for the cost, and that should dissuade the seller from accepting such an offer. However, if Buyer A is an “honest thief” who keeps their word to the seller, Buyer B is still harmed and has no recourse. So this provision basically has no value.

“In addition, [the seller] shall be subject to assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed four per cent of the sale price of the structure or unit as recorded at the registry of deeds or ten thousand dollars, whichever is greater.

Who assesses the penalty? The provision does not create a private right of action, so I’m guessing that only a state actor (district attorney) can file a suit to assess the penalty upon complaint from Buyer B. But Buyer B cannot prove they were harmed, so I don’t see how the suit will ever be filed.

The only way I can think of to make this bill actually enforceable is to create a private right of action that applies to a buyer who succeeds in buying in property in part by waiving the inspection, secretly or otherwise. That buyer would then have the right to terminate the contract (or not, up to them) AND sue the seller for statutory damages (the larger of 4% or $10k as proposed here). The buyer would have to be legally allowed to record voice conversations with seller without their knowledge, to provide evidence.

This enforcement mechanism would make it incredibly dangerous for a seller to sell any property without an inspection. I would expect most sellers would then simply *require* an inspection to be conducted in order to protect themselves. That seems like a reasonable outcome; an inspection costs under $1,000, small change compared to buying essentially any property.

When we moved to Massachusetts from Illinois eleven years ago, we were impeded in purchasing a home because we could not imagine buying an old home without an inspection. And, as it has been for quite some time, the market was such that we were required to waive inspection. We definitely would have put offers in on homes in 2013 if we had the opportunity to request an inspection.

Thus, although the inspection issue was not the only issue that went into our delay in purchasing a home, it took us eight years to finally purchase a home, for which we had to waive the inspection. I’m not sure how this legislation would be enforced or what the unintended consequences might be, but I wholeheartedly support it.

Perhaps I missed this in the legislation, but I believe you missed a critical part of the process. As part of the initial purchase and sale there is often a “purchase contingency addendum” submitted to the seller by the buyer. In this document you will often see a mortgage contingency, a pest contingency, and of course an inspection contingency. If a buyer has to submit this in an offer it becomes a backdoor way to avoid the inspection. Said another way, a seller gets three offers and then goes with the one without the inspection contingency. The language in these addendums is pretty boilerplate, so why not just make it law? For example; The buyer has the right to revoke any offer within 5 days (my personal choice for time) of the inspection and receive a full refund of any deposits given. However, the buyer and seller can mutually agree to extend this time period (in case they need time to work out a deal such as a lower price. This way if the seller does not want to negotiate, the buyer cannot hold the property in limbo for a long period and the seller has time to pursue other offers. At the same time, 5 days should be enough time for the buyer to call a couple of contractors and get a rough quote based on a copy of the inspection report.

I bought an acre of land and a mobile home in Western MA on behalf of a friend who had a major delay in getting her divorce settlement and was therefore homeless. I didn’t know to do an inspection. After purchase we found all kinds of problems that had not been obvious, so I did a post-purchase inspection. It was extremely informative, and I probably would not have purchased the property had I seen it in advance. It has meant that my friend will probably not purchase the home when she gets her settlement. The cost of doing the inspection would have been worth having the information in advance.

Home inspections protect the buyer and help the homeowner avoid any problems with the home as well. It helps the buyer negotiate if they are willing to take on the repairs anyway. I feel that removing the home inspection would be detrimental to the process.

The lack of home inspections has been a bad trend. I’ve never had to do that myself

and know from my own experience how valuable they are. A good inspector finds things you would

never notice. I’ve also been on the other side where a buyer’s ill qualified inspector claimed problems

that didn’t exist (this was in another state) so I had to get, for example, a roofer to inspect the roof to prove that the buyer’s inspector was wrong. I hope the professional standards for inspectors in MA are very high – that is critical. While I have not bought a home in MA, one of my family members bought one in Somerville after a longish search for the right thing and was forced to buy by the market pressure at that time (interest rates were still low ) to buy without an inspection. She did one afterward and while nothing horrible was found, things were found that the buyer would have either had to repair or lower the price accordingly – ie the inspection t could have saved her money and time. I strongly support this legislation.

To be competitive in the house market, we decided to waive our inspection in our offer because we had put in offers with cap contingencies with an inspection and they were not competitive. We were able to get a shortened version of a home inspection before putting in an offer but then when the offer was accepted we paid for a full inspection so my spouse and I knew everything as possible about the home we were buying. We believe if we did not waive the inspection we likely would not have had our offer accepted and may still be searching for our first home. We really did not want to waive the inspection because we are firm believers in the right to inspection.

One thing to consider with this legislation is the cost for inspection- if that is a hardship there should be a fund to cover that expense for low income 1st time home buyers (for example, those eligible for down payment assistance) or have the inspection covered by the buyer. This may already be in the legislation and wanted to include since requiring may put another financial strain on a buyer.

Is there a way to reduce the financial burden of paying for an inspection for those who are being penny wise (but pound foolish)? We had one done when we bought our house and it was very helpful and the seller did reduce the price to cover a defect it uncovered.

When we purchased our home, we had an inspection but with a very high “minimum amount before we can walk away” number (I forget the term). I think it was something like $20k — high enough that the seller was confident we wouldn’t be nickel-and-diming them (or even asking about something like an old water heater), but still gave us insurance against something like the foundation being totally shot. I feel like that was a good compromise, and might be something to consider in the details of this bill. (After all, I’m guessing the bill won’t be just to say that the inspection has to be allowed — but that the buyer then also has the right to do something with that information.)

Please please support this bill!! My husband and I are hard working millennials(I am a physician and he is a scientist) and we cannot buy a home for this reason. We are scared to waive the home inspection and all of our offers have been rejected. We have been trying to buy a house for the past 3 years and would love to finally settle down with our toddler and infant

Pass the bill

It’s been impossible to purchase a home in MA with the limited inventory available and the ridiculous high price of homes; the prices are made even worse by bidding wars and other buyers waiving inspection requests. Therefore, if this bill levels the playing field for new home buyers, then I’m all for it. I know too many people, myself included, who are having to consider leaving MA if they ever want to buy a home, which is heartbreaking for all of us who love living in MA. 🙁

Will people begin to feel coerced by this? Will some other strategy that gives potential buyers an advantage arise that entices sellers to sell to someone in particular that risks a lot of money, too? I think waiving a home inspection is a poor idea but it happens (I think) in foreclosed property auctions. My niece is trying to buy a house right now and waived the inspection. The sale has yet to go through due to title issues but I would hate to see her as a first time home buyer end up with unaffordable repairs. (I’ll send her your survey.) If the state can help to level the playing field in home buying I think that’s a good thing. A more permanent solution to this is making it easier for new housing to be built but I suspect that the legislature is working on that already.

This is necessary in a tight housing market where the seller has all the leverage, including not permitting an inspection.

During house hunting in the past, I have decided against many houses I was interested in when I learned issues that only a qualified inspector could have found: for example, one house had their insulation installed wrong side out which caused moisture which caused the entire attic and inside of the walls to be covered in black mold. When touring a house with a real estate agent, you can’t exactly climb a ladder and peel the attic insulation back. You need an inspector on your side so you can decide if you can easily fix the issues they uncover or if you’re going to pass.

I am glad that we don’t have to try and negotiate in this current market. Even with our inspection we discovered numerous issues after purchasing our house – I can’t imagine what it would have been like if we didn’t have an inspection at all. It’s hard enough to even afford a house without needing to pay for unexpected problems discovered after the deal is closed.

I have a friend who moved to a 120 year old condo in Waverly and, after getting passed up for bids she submitted on other places by people who waived the inspection, did the same herself in order to buy the property. Luckily nothing big has been found since buying, but on my own house which I DID have inspected, there have been numerous “surprises”. It could have turned out so much worse for my friend! I think it’s a terrible penalty in a tough real estate market that people are forced to buy properties with unknown numbers of problems.

Let people do what they want. If you want an inspection but the seller does not want them to have one walk away. If some fool thinks he will get an advantage by not having a home inspection it is that persons problem.

It should be a requirement – not to be waived.

While I would personally never waive the inspection, I know that in the current market, it will be extremely difficult for me to purchase a home then, as others who are more willing would go ahead. While most homes are likely fine, and this risk might be worth taking then for those who are willing, that only means that the standard is to waive the inspection and hope nothing major comes of it, just to remain competitive in the house buying market. Legislation that makes this process no longer optional means that consumers are protected from a costly investment, the market is set up to have the safety net there, and waiving for family is a very good exclusion to have.

Agree, this is a transparency. issue and should be passed BEFORE there is a purchase offer.

We were told to waive the home inspection recently when we bought a house about a year ago. The home had termites. We were lucky. There wasn’t a tremendous amount of damage.

However, home inspection is not insurance against nightmare situations. A friend of mine bought a house at about the same time we did and she had a home inspection but the sellers made it impossible for the inspector to find all of the problems. For instance they nailed shut windows so the inspector couldn’t see the rotting windows and they scrubbed down the basement so the inspector didn’t see mold that had taken root there. The windows cost her thousands and she is particularly sensitive to mold so, despite repeated attempts at mold remediation, she is sick every time she sleeps in the house. She can’t live there. It’s been a complete nightmare.

My daughter almost walked into at tragedy because the market is so tight, it was only because she had a lawyer with her from the start that she didn’t lose a ton of money on a very bad albeit newly developed condo. I wasn’t there at the time to stop it. This bill is a no-brainer to me, it should have been done ages ago.

I think this is a very reasonable thing to pass to increase consumer protections. I can see how waving the inspection only really benefits the sellers, since they can offload homes with critical defects on to unsuspecting buyers.

With the way that the housing market is right now I also think a different bill that addresses how much AirB&B has negatively affected the market, exacerbating the lack of housing for so many taking family homes off the market for the express purpose of turning them into short term rental. This only contributes to the severe lack of housing for sale & how it’s a sellers market in MA. I’ve watched friends go through having to find a home to buy & how difficult it is. I can’t see myself ever being able to buy a home here, despite living & working here for 20yrs.

It’s hard enough to try to compete in this fierce housing market without the stress of having to waive the home inspection. A house or condo is by far the most important and most expensive purchase most people ever make. Having to do it “in the dark” without a home inspection is foolish but necessary these days. It’s pretty rare that sellers provide a home inspection report but it’s an excellent way to let all potential make a more informed decision. If they don’t do that, buyers need time to arrange for one themselves.

I understand the intent behind the bill but there are a few situations that need to be accounted for

1) doing an inspection pre-offer. I know of folks who have done this to protect themselves.

2) homes being sold “as is” where the expectation is that it might be a teardown or need major renovation/repair.

I also am somewhat against adding more friction & cost into what is already a very costly transaction. While I agree that we should try to protect uninformed buyers from making financial mistakes they’re not prepared or sufficiently educated to make (like the SEC does with requiring “accredited investors” for risky ventures), it’s adding cost & regulations to plenty of other transactions where the buyer is financially prepared & able to live with the consequences of foregoing an inspection.

Seems like having realtors and others providing the strong advice not to offer without an inspection contingency, along with lenders assessing whether they will provide mortgage for an uninspected property should be sufficient. I would assume the lenders should be the biggest lever in this case.

I’m torn. The wording of the legislation of “…if the results are not satisfactory to Buyer, in Buyer’s sole discretion…” create tremendous uncertainty for a seller.

As a buyer, this legislation would allow for more confidence and leverage in offers, even for more borderline properties. Given that an inspection will ALWAYS turn up SOMETHING, this will always create an opportunity for a buyer, in their sole discretion, to not be satisfied with said inspection and for a one-on-one negotiation between the buyer with an accepted offer and the seller.

As a current homeowner, and past and future seller, I’m concerned about the uncertainty this legislation could instill in the selling process and the leverage it would give to the buyer as currently written. It leaves no opportunity for the seller to terminate the initial contract if they are unwilling to negotiate with an intransigent buyer and allows a potential buyer to drag their feet and use the full 10 days before termination, even if they know sooner the inspection is “not satisfactory”. Currently, if I want to sell quickly and with certainty, I can accept an offer that waives an inspection and know the sale will go through quickly with fewer concerns. If an inspection is always an option, the 10 day period immediately may extend the closing timeline and or relisting timeline. As a previous buyer, I assure you that any house that is relisted/goes back on the market is immediately considered deficient in some way and depresses offer amounts.

I see this legislation being extremely beneficial to buyers by both requiring the ability to inspect AND depressing sale prices due to the likely increase in relisted properties. That’s all well and good, but, at the moment, the buyer can CHOOSE to waive the contingency or not and the seller can CHOOSE if the waiving is more or less important. At the moment, there is VALUE in a waived contingency that can be offset with a lower offer amount. With the legislation as proposed, it removes the ability of the buyer and seller to negotiate blind through their offers in ways beyond the offer price and closing date. Further, why stop at requiring home inspections to be allowed? Why not require radon tests, lead tests, pest inspections, title searches, etc., etc., all to be required parts of the selling process (at the sole discretion of the buyer, of course)?

Overall, I appreciate the motivation of the legislation (to protect buyers from unexpected expenses) but, it feels like it both goes too far while also creating an enormous distortion in what is, essentially, a private party negotiation process that, while currently stressful, generally works out for all parties. I’d be much more interested in legislation/regulation about how to better align the BUYER’S AGENT’s interest with the BUYER. At the moment, a buyer’s agent’s goal is to sell the buyer a house as fast as possible, regardless of if it is in the buyer’s best interest. If more buyer’s agents encouraged inspections, or other contingencies or tests, this problem would solve itself. But, as it is, it is in the buyer’s agent’s best interest to recommend waiving ALL contingencies, making the HIGHEST offer possible, and generally offering the best terms FOR THE SELLER rather than protecting the buyer’s interests.

The current climate of waving inspections allows unscrupulous sellers to prosper. I hope this passes and becomes law, to protect young people like me when we go to buy our first homes

My former landlord saved himself from buying one of those houses in Central MA through a home inspection. Foundation was made of that material that disintegrates. He is a former fireman, very handy, and has friends in the trades, otherwise might not have insisted.

Also heard some horror stories from a relative who‘s a structural engineer.

We need to break the stranglehold of town planning boards on new construction.

Buyers, of course, should be educated on this matter. However, sellers should be able to offer an “as is” sale. Buyers could participate or not, as they choose.

I have not purchased a home yet but will be in the market hopefully within a year. I agree that buyers should absolutely be entitled to home inspections, and I’ve also heard of inspections completed prior to making an offer so how would those be impacted by the bill, if at all?

I feel this to be educational and something people should read about and sign that they have read a statement about this. Buyers should understand scenarios as you are describing in Central Massachusetts. I have not heard of these horror stories, so it is enlightening to know. I do not think it should be a required contingency. I have had inspections on homes that did not produce much information I would not have gleaned myself, and in fact, omitted information I would have liked to have known. That information would’ have come from town records, builders/contractor assessments, more than just a basic inspection.

We had inspections on ours that I wish had been more thorough. But we have tons of neighbors who have waived them because that’s what the market demands, and they have had some unhappy surprises. Inspections should be required, no matter how rich the buyer is and how much they want the house.

It is crazy that people are forced to buy homes without inspection. This bill would make home buying far less intimidating in Boston, especially for first-time home buyers, individuals, and young people. I hope you pass this bill.

Seems like a good idea to protect buyers, especially the ones who may not understand how to protect themselves? What’s the downside?

I aspire to buy a home and the situation of not being able to ask for a home inspection for fear of being “out-bid” by those who waive that inspection makes the prospect that much more daunting (in addition to high prices, high mortgage rates, low inventory, etc. etc.)

Inspections are a good way to protect the consumer during a major purchase.

This no inspection nonsense is no different from forcing low level employees to sign NDAs or banks and others imposing arbitration only clauses. All should be illegal. (And I say this as a senior who will have to sell his home some day.)

While you are at it Senator, tell me this: If California can ban NDAs for ALL employees regardless of seniority without losing businesses, why can’t MA? And I am a pro-business b-school professor. If you ever want to know more, reach out.

It is a safety feature that protects home buyers and many people are unaware of the potential problems they will incur without having an inspection.

Under current laws many unscrupulous realtors and sellers are coercing owners into buying “sight unseen” with no recourse on the part of the buyer. However, I would suggest that in order to be fair to sellers as well, the time given to conduct an inspection and decline or move forward with the purchase based on that inspection be limited to a 5 business day period in order to also protect the seller against potential buyers who use an inspection as a delay tactic

Buying a home is a huge commitment of financial resources and time and people need to be able to engage professionals to help in the process.

Given the state of our housing crisis, many prospective home buyers will be unable to afford repairs or secondary residence while repairs take place. Waiving these contingencies will alleviate that pressure and potential for housing insecurity of new home buyers.

I have lost out on bids due to a waived inspection from another bidder. It would be great if this lever of privilege (since people waiving often aren’t first time buyers like myself, or have ample funds to fix issues) and make the bidding process less fraught overall. So many homes in MA are antiques, it’s crazy to me that anyone is able to waive an inspection. You just don’t know what you’re getting!

Making inspections mandatory is likely to give home inspectors monopoly power to charge whatever they collectively agree is the market price.

Purchasers must have the right.

It seems like a good idea, though I might like to know more about how the bill would be worded.

This bill makes perfect sense, but I hope there is not some unintended consequence that somehow I have missed. That said, I cannot imagine buying a home without an inspection and I believe most lenders would insist upon an inspection as a condition for a loan.

You are on the right path with this. Waiving home inspections is benefiting unscrupulous sellers and needs to end. Home inspections exist for a reason, why punish home buyers with this drive to be the most attractive purchasers in a seller’s market? Unregulated capitalism is organized crime.

I want to say that I bought and sold my condo in NYC before I bought my condo in Cambridge so not sure if that makes me a buyer and seller of one or more than one since I did buy and then sell the one in NYC before buying in Cambridge…

Markets work when there is transparency and symmetric information, the home inspection surely increases both of these and improves the functioning the housing market. The housing market already starts off as being challenging because no two homes are the same so it is impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison, so anything that can help boost buyer information is a good thing.

All home buyers do have the opportunity to have a professional inspection. It is up to the buyer if they do not want an inspection! Government should stay out of this.

We had to waive the inspection on our home because the market was so bananas. We got lucky, but it was a huge risk and it could have destroyed us financially. I think this bill is a very good idea.

I think it’s important for a buyer to have the opportunity for a home inspection prior to any final commitment to purchase. But I understand the seller’s market in wanting to get as much money as possible at the moment, in which case, it should be an ‘as is’ sale.

I bought an ‘as is’ condo in Boston and the seller had no intention of repairing anything. But there should be some protections in place for this type of sale, as well.

This legislation seems entirely fair. Please pass it.

Great idea. Forcing prospective homeowners to waive inspections puts them in a terrible spot if there are issues with the house. Sellers are not always truthful on their disclosures. Please pass this bill.

1. Legislation should address inspectors training and credentialing.

2. Legislation should require disclosure of conflicts of interest for the home inspector and any preexisting business or personal relationship to seller and or realtor.

2.Inspection fees should be capped so this legislation doesnt become a boondoggle.

This bill should protect home-buyers who may be forced to purchase a property without the benefit of a home inspection.

Essential to ensure buyers are not being deceived

Sellers have the upper hand in this competitive market, and it seems home inspections have become “currency” which impact which bidder has their offer accepted. Many potential homeowners are being squeezed out unless they opt out of a home inspection, which could be disastrous. I support keeping home inspections unwaiveable. Thank you, Will.

Is there any liability for the home inspectors for things they miss?

For instance, while doing some other work, my contractor noticed a bolt screwed into a joist in the basement. Out of curiosity, he unscrewed it and we saw that the joist had a big crack in it and the bolt was intended to hide the crack. The inspector never noted that.

I should probably read the bill. Never mind

This will level the playing field for those of us that would be severely harmed by repairs that would have been otherwise identified on an inspection but would have to waive to compete on buying a new home.

This is a huge issue Will! There is so much pressure on buyers not to have an inspection as part of the buyer process. That puts tremendous risk for first time home buyers.

And given MA housing stock age, that only adds to the overall level of concern that homebuyers should have. A requirement of a housing inspection from a certified home inspector would allow buyers lower risk purchasing than what we’re dealing with now.

Like wouldn’t the lenders want this? And buyers?

I think it’s important to do home inspections. I also feel that some inspectors don’t do their job well. The decision is the responsibly of the potential buyer to determine if an inspection should be done. Costs, timing, and finding an inspector are some of the factors in their decision. I work in construction, and we are required to apply for permits and have city inspectors review our work before they put the walls up. These inspections (electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, general) are to insure all work is to state code, and if it’s not done to code it must be corrected before we get signed off. In addition, to get a certificate of occupancy all traits must be signed off and final inspection completed.

All homes, new construction and re-models all require permits and inspections from the city before occupancy. Shouldn’t we be looking at the inspectors and their requirements for inspecting homes instead of adding additional cost to the potential buyers? Home owners are not aware of potential issues, but the inspectors are required to know.

So why are we creating legislation to require everyone to do a home inspection?

There are adequate protections in the current language for prospective buyers and sellers. This is a well thought out, time tested process with demonstrated value. Circumventing the intention of these guidelines could be perilous.

Overall I am very much in support of the goals of this bill.

I am wondering whether there are times when the demand for home inspections exceeds to availability of inspection services during a time of high demand for those services in at least some areas. While I can’t cite any specific instances, I remember hearing at least anecdotally in the not terribly distant past about prospective buyers having difficulty arranging for property inspections. Do we know with reasonable certainty that 10 days is always a feasible time frame in which a prospective buyer can find and engage an inspector and for the inspector to complete their report and for the buyer to evaluate the inspector’s findings? If not, should there be a clause that deals with that possibility?

On the face of it, this seems like a good idea to reduce the pressure on buyers to waive inspections. My question would be how many buyers waive inspection because it is one more barrier to being able to afford to buy. From my experience inspections are not the largest of expenses involved in buying a home, so this may not result in a big problem for most. However, I tend to balk at the removal of choice unless it is very well founded in research.

I applaud you for offering this survey.

I believe most reputable mortgage lenders require it anyway.

You could conside

As a prospective home buyer, I support this legislation. Given the age of our housing stock and the current housing shortage, I feel like I am being forced to risk my family’s health, safety, and economic future by waiving an inspection, just because we want to partake in the American dream and own a home, like generations before us.

I think this legislation will not have a major impact on a seller’s ability to sell a home for the true value of property, and will only reduce the values of homes that have serious structural issues, which is how pricing should work. The only people who will lose out are those who are trying to sell their home for an inflated value or cover up serious issues with their property, which we as a society should discourage.

I completely agree with this proposal and think it is completely unacceptable that people would need to forego an inspection just to get an accepted offer. There are so many issues that can surface, as you flag, and it can be devastating for a home buyer to figure out how to manage the cost of repairs. All buyers should have legal access to an inspection process. It is the right thing to do.

This is absolutely necessary. Let’s get it passed.

This bill seems to be a solution in search of a problem. Inspections are a generally well known step in the homebuying process. It’s the buyer’s right to waive an inspection to make their offer more attractive. If and when they do this, they take on added risk. Additionally, there are no guarantees that an inspection will even catch major issues. In both of my transactions, the inspector missed major issues because he could not access certain parts of the condo building. In a seller’s market, the seller is likely to say “take it or leave it” when issues are found during an inspection. Also, if one buyer’s inspector discovers a major issue, would there be any obligation for the seller to disclose that issue to other potential buyers?

If the goal is to educate buyers on the risk of purchasing a home without an inspection, perhaps the state could mandate an online course for first time homebuyers. This could cover topics such as risks of variable loans, mortgage insurance, inspections, why you should have a lawyer, importance title/deed searches/verifications, realtors promises vs zoning laws, etc.

Let buyers choose their level of acceptable risk. A buyer of a modern condo might be willing to take more risk than someone of an older home. A buyer might be very capable of evaluating the building risk on their own, and use that knowledge to make their offer more attractive. Similar to waiving the mortgage contingency to make an offer more attractive.

One other consideration is the impartiality of the home inspector. I think there is a bit of an inherent conflict of interest in home inspection. If an inspector typically finds a bunch of flaws and kills home sales, they won’t get as many recommendations from realtors to perform inspections. A mechanism to ensure that the inspection was truly impartial could be beneficial.

I would prefer the government to stay out of people’s lives, I don’t see how any of the laws passed by the MA government in the last decade or two have helped me or my family.

Selling a property is negotiable between two parties and the MA government should not be involved, the word “negotiable” means two parties are able to negotiate a sale.

Most seniors depend on the windfall profit from a property sale when they retire and downsize. Your proposed law would just add to the millionaire’s tax, realtor fees and MA sales tax.

The millionaire’s tax has delayed the sales of many properties in MA, this law would increase the asking cost of properties or sold to out of country investors.

I would welcome a survey on how happy are the citizens of the Commonwealth with the MA government over the last few decades.

in thiis market..very hot..houses going to contract within days, sellers are not accepting offers with continent home inspections as so many are making cash offers wth no contingencies.. We were (luckily) able to get an inspection done – 1 hour – walk and talk – with a home inspector prior to our offer.. it was not a formal inspection done with a write up – but a good way for us to know if there were issues (which there was not) .. we had it done the day before offers were due – 5 days after the house went on the market..

We purchased our home and were told by our realtor that we had to waive the inspection, or we’d never get a bid accepted – a scary proposition to us, but we did. She also wanted us to also waive the mortgage contingency, but we did not think that was a sound idea. The housing market is so brutal here in MA I think anything that helps the buyer to be able to protect themselves is a good thing.

EMPHATICALLY SUPPORT!!!!! The pressure to waive inspections has been a total abuse of this seller’s market.

I was a broker for 30 years, now retired. So very interested in this. I often advised people to drop the inspection so they could have a chance at a house. Very uncomfortable,

So I’m sympathetic to the bill. Prices for property and repairs are so high now, people should have this minimal protection.

One detail is “professional home inspection”. Often the house is a wreck, so people bring in a GC to assess the costs of renovation. A home inspector would be wasteful in this situation. So maybe a GC should be allowed.

Before passing this, I’d consult with the brokerage community to see if there are other impacts on the buying process that are unintended.

A bill such as this is a long time coming and I support it.

My worry is the trend of house flippers attempting to renovate a home but doing so in a way that merely covers problems instead of correcting them. When the housing market gets particularly competitive for buyers I think this situation can get even worse. A guaranteed home inspection seems like a good idea to prevent bad actors trying to take advantage of buyers, especially younger buyers looking for their first home. If house flippers know to expect a home inspection then hopefully they will be incentivized to provide a higher quality of work.

Also, there might be a typo in paragraph 1 of Section 2,

“right have said structure or unit inspected,” should be “right to have said structure or unit inspected,”I think inspections are important protections for home buyers. But, when families are competing in a market with investors or contractors who don’t care about defects or can repair them themselves, they add another layer of difficulty for people seeing to buy homes. Sellers may still opt to sell to a developer who will waive an inspection (or not make the sale contingent on inspection) and pay cash. In my experience this is the biggest hurdle for people buying homes!

Buyer beware

In lieu of having a mandatory inspection by the buyer, require a mandatory disclosure of issues and code problems, eg require the seller as part of the selling process have an independent inspection of the property as part of the listing information the listing agency has on file for buyers who make an offer and insurance against undisclosed issues and recourse against the seller, agent, inspector and insurance in the event of serious defect not disclosed. The seller has experience with the property, and time to get a report made as does the listing agent. But requiring inspection as an unwaiveable step in the selling process is a simpler solution, with less opportunity for conflicts of interest in the selling process.

I can understand sellers wanting to get a sale locked down quickly; I got caught in the mortgage-interest spiral and had to take a substantially low offer for my former house after two months on the market. (Inspection wasn’t the issue; timing was.) But I’ve also backed out of a purchase because an inspector found things I wouldn’t have known to look for, ranging from plumbing issues to dangerously outdated wiring. I expect some people will say that the government shouldn’t interfere in a private transaction, but the “free market” that idea depends on assumes that everyone knows everything there is to know about what is being bought and sold; a house, especially for a first-time buyer, is too complicated for non-specialists to know everything that could go wrong — especially in the amount of time potential buyers are allowed to look at most properties.

My husband and I want to purchase a home once my graduate studies conclude and we’re able to put down roots. We’d be first-time homebuyers, and the idea that we’d be pressured to waive rights to an inspection because someone else is willing to shoulder that financial risk is absurd.

Home inspections are a good idea. We have had some expensive foundation repairs for issues that I think our home inspector (who was maybe not the best) failed to catch.

Also, homebuyers may often be pressured into waiving inspection to get more favorable consideration during the home buying process. That may be causing a lot of people more headaches down the road once issues that should have been caught at inspection rear their head later.

While I agree with the idea of the proposal, inspection adds additional significant cost to a buyer ($700 in our case). I think the legislation should be smart in a way that a buyer can still drop it if they don’t think they need it. Will it be required to do an inspection if current legislation passes?

The buyer should know what they’re getting for the money. This is a basic covenant between buyer and seller for millennia. It is unfair to strip the buyer of this sacred arrangement because of a hot market.

A Home Inspection should be considered as a Home Investment and Protection against a fraudulent seller who is aware of a home’s costly defects but not honest about disclosing them.

When my wife and I were looking for a home, we had to pay for our own inspections. I think it would be better for buyers if there was just one inspection report commissioned by the seller, so prospective buyers didn’t have to do their own.

We have only purchased homes following an inspection. However, we have had the resources to pay for a good one each time. You would be legislating a requirement for buyers to commit to spending more money.

It seems to me that a lender could require one as part of their criteria for protecting an investment.

To my mind the question would be about equity and not shutting folks out of the housing market, which is challenging enough as it is. Are there resources available to support first time and low income homebuyers in getting a good inspection? (I do recognize that unidentified structural problems cost a lot of money down the line, and this needs to be addressed as well. Getting rid of the no-inspection option may be one more barrier to home ownership that needs some study is all.). Thanks for asking!

This is likely the largest purchase of your life. Yes a home inspection should be done.

We recently purchased a home. We made our first offer NOT contingent on an inspection, hoping the seller would see that as an advantage – but they turned down the offer. So we had a PRE-inspection, and made another higher offer, also non-contingent on inspection since we had had one, and it was accepted.

So we DID have an inspection, but we DID have a non-contingent-on-inspection clause in the offer – so we WERE protected. I don’t know if there’s a way for the bill to allow non-contingency wording IF the buyer has already had a professional inspection.

I agree with the intent of the bill – so that buyers don’t feel compelled to use non-contingency clauses in order to be competitive. And sellers and REAL ESTATE AGENTS don’t push for non-contingency clauses.

Home inspections should be required, like the lemon law, it would protect buyers from hidden defects in their purchase.

I support this bill (it protects the “little guy”, but I worry that it will hamper the free enterprise of being able to sell a home as the buyer and seller might wish… I am not sure I understand the ramifications of insisting on a home inspection. Doesn’t the buyer take his/her chances on possible horror stories?

Great idea! I follow a number of inspectors on social media and they often show how new, expensive residential can be poorly made.

Coming from another state where I bought homes, I was shocked to find that a survey is not required either. I have seen this lead to many unnecessary disputes between neighbors on old unclear property lines.

This, or something along these lines, is a good idea. There are inspections and inspections, of course, and some can be pretty cursory. Does the legislation include any criteria for them and qualifications for Home Inspectors?

An alternative approach might be to require the seller to perform an inspection meeting the same criteria and to include it with the property description when it’s listed. Or simply make sellers liable for undisclosed conditions–I don’t think they are in Massachusetts.

If I understand this proposed legislation correctly. home sales would REQUIRE an inspection prior to closing (with exception of sales w/in family). I appreciate the intent (protecting buyers) however many buyers are comfortable proceeding w/out the inspection. Is there a way to protect buyers post-sale from undiscovered defects (regardless of pre-sale inspection or not)? Should sellers contractually “certify” that their home is w/out major defect (or acknowledge problematic issues prior to the closing)?

Thanks for protecting unsuspecting consumers.

With the current competitive market, the ping out inspections is usually one of the negotiation levers. This puts buyers in a tough spot given the age of some of the homes for sale – especially those with children (lead paint concerns). I have not considered much of the other side though, particularly the impact to businesses and realtors. But on the surface, this seems reasonable and is consumer friendly

I agree with this bill wholeheartedly and appreciate you standing up for home buyers. It is crazy to spend that kind of money on such an important purchase and not be able to have an inspection, not to mention unsafe. I just had an offer accepted on a home but have not closed yet, so there was not a survey answer for that given. We were lucky to have an offer accepted with inspection, but our realtor warned us that it was risky and we may not have the offer accepted. I think that is just wrong.

Home inspections and valuations are a sort of wild west. Only a High School diploma or GED are required. The system depends on a sort of apprenticeship with a licensed inspector and passage of a test which covers the basics of mechanical and electrical systems and appliances.

We had an inspection where the inspector did not note the presence of asbestos insulation on the furnace. Another did not note that the furnace was defective though in all fairness it would be impossible to determine much of the internal condition of the unit from an external visual inspection.

Most recently the home inspector failed to notice that the furnace had been installed without no holder to install a filter. We had to have the ductwork re-done at significant cost to be able to have a filter.

Perhaps it would be possible to require inspectors to pass an exam that includes Mass building code so they would have to prove a basic knowledge of construction and building code. That does not appear to be necessary now. Why not also allow licensed engineers and architects to be assumed to be qualified to perform home inspections by virtue of their professional licensure?


Name omitted, AIA


Basic consumer protection. I fully support this!

No one should buy a home that has not been inspected. On the other hand, I don’t know much about the home inspector profession. How strongly are home inspectors motivated to find defects that affect price. Does doing so affect their compensation?

Let the market drive this and don’t force buyers to endure additional costs that are potentially avoidable. In many circumstances the buyer has the ability to self inspect and they should have that ability.

In my opinion, a buyer of a property should always have the option to have a licensed home inspector assess the condition of the property before committing to a purchase.

We have purchased houses in other states, as well as in Massachusetts. I was surprised and disappointed by how circumspect the inspector was. I identified more issues than the inspector did and who seemed to actively avoid looking for anything but things observable from several feet away. I would hope that more than require inspection, it would also require that reasonable level of inspection.

My impression was that when a buyer waives inspection they are just waiving the right to negotiate the price after inspection but it does not stop them from breaching their offer, or P&S or actually getting the home inspected prior to P&S. As a seller, I would want to be able to accept an offer which includes a waiver of inspection.

This is not governments business.

Private between buyer and seller.

Most home inspectors are incompetent anyway.

Mind your own business please!!

Under the “I have purchased a home” question, I am just about to sell my house and then purchase another (that’s my situation). Thinking ahead to the purchase, I know how important it is for peace of mind and managing risk for the inspection to take place, but it seems intimidating in this seller’s market to have to put the inspection on the negotiating table. So I very much appreciate your leadership on this bill and hope it passes. Home buying can be stressful enough, this will help make sure the effects of the housing crunch in MA are mitigated in one important way.

New buyers can be very naive. Our unconscionable housing shortage is putting enormous pressure on them to snap up what they can afford. We need consumer protection.

I think another concern, as a recent first-time home buyer, is how we treat lead. They’re required to disclose if it’s failed a lead test so many sellers are willfully ignorant because they’re penalized by knowing. We were also warned that a lead test was expensive and a failed test would be a permanent mark on the home, discouraging us from doing it until we explained we planned on kids.

The house failed the test, having thousands of dollars in lead abatement required. I think tests should be required and paid by the seller, if not complete abatement.

Waiving home inspections is one more method of advantaging those who have the ability to pay higher prices. All buyers need protection, regardless of their ability to pay.

One of our biggest frustrations in home buying was the competition from out-of-state buyers who would offer well over asking while waiving not just the inspection, but also the contingency and the insurance clauses. It seemed as though most of these buyers had plenty of liquid capital to deal with any of these eventualities, while us as first time buyers were staking basically everything we owned and then some on the line. Many sellers refused any offer that didn’t waive these three even if they came in $200k over asking. Our extremely professional relator even told us that waiving the contingency clause was “reckless and wild”.

With our home, we did end up waiving the inspection but still had it “for informative purposes only”. Thankfully, the only major issue was Radon in the basement which we negotiated to get them to pay for remediation. Otherwise, the inspector was incredibly professional and gave us a checklist of things that we should do ourselves after we own the house. I wish all first-time homeowners could have an experience with an inspector like that, but I do recognize that by legally mandating it that may drive down the quality of the inspectors as their demand skyrockets.

That being said, most of these out of state buyers are not interested in employing small local businesses to either do their inspections or their repairs, so mandating inspections takes away a card they have over first time home buyers. I do worry that if the bill is worded such that inspections can be “for informative purposes only” that can lead to a situation where inspections are of poor quality or outright ignored.

As someone who works in a real estate related field and whose family was in the development business I would NEVER buy a home without an inspection. Most buyers do not have the background to evaluate the condition of a home prior to occupancy and they will almost certainly lack local/historical knowledge about construction practices that could point toward serious defects, such as the example you cite from Central MA. I do not see how society benefits from allowing a market failure like this to continue.

A home inspection gives people a better sense of what they’re getting involved in. If someone desperately wants a particular house, they could set a very high contingency number for what they’re willing to waive – but it levels the playing field a bit for buyers.

When purchasing my home, I would not have proceeded without a proper inspection. Though our inspector did not identify anything drastically problematic, it provided peace of mind and reassurance. The cost of purchasing a home is too great to undertake without informed assessment. This bill would ensure that other buyers do not need to forgo this simply to win a bid.

Another example of the Nanny State, forcing regulations on millions of people to solve post hoc problems of a few. These are adults making uncoerced decisions to waive inspection; no one is making them buy that home.

I think making the inspection contingency unwaivable is so important especially with the high price of homes today. This bill should be passed.

Inspections are in place for a reason.i have bid on houses where people waive their right to an inspection and I would not cross that foolish line

In concept, I agree that, to the extent possible, the buyer should be made aware of all known and discoverable defects. It is unfair for the seller to recieve money under a false statement or implication of higher than actual property value.

Give the age of homes in New England, poor quality of trade expertise post Covid, inspections are essential.

I hope to purchase a home in the future, but have so far been unable to because of the Boston area’s high housing costs. However, the prospect of being forced to choose between giving up my chance at a house and waiving an inspection that might alert me to expensive, dangerous, or dealbreaking problems with the house is a horrifying one, and has definitely had a dampening effect of its own on my interest in purchasing a house in the near future. Thank you to the legislature for this bill!

I heard about those homes with the defective concrete and even though I sympathize, I would like you to preserve the public’s right to make their own choices. Although people will sometimes make the wrong choice, and pay the price, the choice should not be taken away from responsible buyers that may choose to waive the inspection because they have their own construction knowledge, or maybe they plan to tear the house down / rebuild and therefore don’t need an inspection. I will always want you to vote for choice.

Hi Will – There should be no way that someone could buy a house without an inspection. I have been saying this for years, so I fully support this effort. Thanks!

When I purchased my home, I originally lost out to an all-cash, no-contingency buyer. When that buyer backed out a week later, the seller’s agent came back to my offer, slightly above ask but with financing and an inspection. Every penny I had saved since I was a teenager went into my down payment, with just enough left to cover moving costs, the inspection, and about $10,000 left in my bank account for monthly bills, cash flow, etc. The seller’s agent told me I would have had a better chance if I’d forgone the inspection, but because all of my money was going into the down payment, that was not a risk I could afford. I told them that the inspection was like insurance for me, in that I was only looking to confirm that my new home wasn’t going to collapse into a pile of debris a month after I purchased it due to some structural issue that could have been discovered easily. I had no intention of nickel-and-diming their client over scratches in the hardwood, patchiness in the paint, or extreme wear in some of the carpeting, and I didn’t negotiate for anything once the inspection report came back with no significant problems. With buyers required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, and many, like me, facing financial ruin if there turns out to be a big problem, it seems only fair that there be a guarantee that those who wish to do so can pay for an inspection that will act like an insurance policy to protect them from disaster.

I am currently in the period between the P&S agreement and closing on a home in Belmont. This will be the second home my wife and I have purchased. When we put in our offer, our Real Estate Agent recommended “pulling out all the stops” to get our bid accepted. She assumed all other bids would come with the inspection waived, so we planned to do so. I felt uneasy about this and pushed back a little. After this pushback, the agent told us about another option: to visit the home with our inspector for a shorter “pre-inspection.” We were able to perform the pre-inspection, and this gives me better peace of mind. It was not a full inspection, so I will likely have one done soon after closing. If there were a way to know that none of the bidders could waive the home inspection, it would be very helpful, especially for first-time homebuyers who may not know any better.

One thing to keep in mind when crafting your legislation is the speed at which real estate transactions are moving in our area. Listings are only up for a few days, with offers due 5 days after the listing goes up. Closing is usually as soon as possible after the bid is accepted. In our case, the closing will only be 3 weeks after the bid was accepted.


While I understand the risks of waiving the inspection, it was essential in my most recent home purchase to quickly close on the property. I could tell that the home was well-cared for and had excellent maintenance records and was visually in good shape. I think that an all-cash offer and no inspection worked in my case. I would suggest that banks should demand inspections in order to make loans, rather than government mandate that will impact cash buyers who should know better.

Given the strains of a “sellers’ market”, buyers are forced to offer to purchase without an inspection in order to look more favorable to the seller. Often this leads to costly repairs that even a savvy buyer who knows home repairs overlooks, never mind the proverbial first time buyer who just wants a home.

The decision whether or not to insist on a home inspection should be left to the buyer, not mandated by the state. The buyer has the ability to move on to another property if the seller is not willing to accept a home inspection. Even in a seller’s market, that’s a choice that the buyer should be able to make. We need to stop trying to regulate everything in this state. In the example you gave in central MA, it was the buyer’s choice to forgo the home inspection, they took a gamble and lost. They had the opportunity to look elsewhere to buy, and would have been better off if they did so. If the state mandates anything, maybe make the buyer something indicating they understand the risk of foregoing a property inspection.

Although the bill at face value has merit and should be passed. Ultimately the bill should include a requirement for a seller to disclose all known faults with the property. As you know, Massachusetts is a nondisclosure state, which means you can have full knowledge of a fault, such as a failing plumbing system, but not have to tell any buyer. Inspection don’t always catch such things because sometimes failures take several days of consistent use to show themselves. By not having this seller requirement, it leaves little to recover damages for a known fault.

I personally have had experience with this exact situation. And this property went under contract to my knowledge multiple times. I was the first one to have the property under agreement, and the deal fell through for several reasons. The faults with the property were only found by chance. Since this time to my knowledge three more buyers went under agreement on this property and never once was a potential purchaser notified of the failing system. Beyond being morally wrong, it should be illegal to not notify buyers.

Further, My mom purchased a property in Woburn after my dad passed in 2020 and seller specifically stated when asked that they’ve never had water in the basement. The first rainstorm that happened after the purchase my mom got several inches of water in the basement. After discussing with neighbors, it was actually a known issue in that neighborhood and basically all houses get water in that area get water, so they all have waterproofing and sump systems. Not only did the seller not notify my mom of the known water infiltration into this property the realtor didn’t either.

Ultimately, sellers are lying to customers or failing to provide information that should be provided.

I would request you update your proposed legislation with an amendment to include a seller requirement for disclosures.

This seems nice but the best way to address sellers market is focus more effort on improving the T and housing supply. Those are the biggest issues that will impact housing availability/affordability in and around Massachusetts. Allocating more money to the T will encourage people to live in other areas that currently have less demand. Tightening the zoning laws to make it easier and harder for towns to push back and bad faith individuals to file frivolous lawsuits that slow down new housing will also help. Please focus on that part of housing more.

Not sure of details, but it is not clear what the downside of mandating it would be.

A home inspection is very useful, especially for people who are clueless about potential problems that might lurk in any house, such as knob-and-tube wiring. But they should also be aware that the inspection is not foolproof. The inspector cannot open walls and floors or carry out any other invasive examinations. So the house may still have problems that the homeowner will have to address. Still, I believe home inspection before a purchase should always be carried out (except in family transactions.

I believe home inspectors are now exempt from liability for negligence in their conduct of home inspections. If home inspections become mandatory, inspectors should be liable for their errors. Otherwise home buyers will be paying for an inspection without any recourse if the inspector overlooks something.

So I have a feeling that there could easily be unanticipated consequences in this space, but I don’t know the space well enough to guess what they might be. I bias in favor of the bill (our home inspections were vital to making good choices and I don’t want people forced into making bad choices), but were I in your position I’d listen very carefully to the arguments against and the expected gotchas if it was passed. The line between “Let people make their own decisions” and “Overall economics are forcing people in a bad direction; we should legislate against it” is a hard one.

Random spitballing of an idea that might balance those two goods: Instead of requiring an inspection, put sellers on the hook if some (large) monetary threshold is passed by an unanticipated defect is discovered after the sale. That allows buyers and sellers to do what they want, but provides an incentive to both parties for an inspection to be done.

Seems reasonable, but there is a wide range of home inspectors and companies.

Are they licensed / regulated?

As someone who has owned and now rents, hoping to own again, b/c of our aging infrastructure that is specific to MA, I believe inspections are critical before a purchase. Further, I think it is careless and financially irresponsible to forgo an inspection.

A family member just purchased a 100-year old two-family home. A lot of work was obviously needed, but they were unable to get a professional, comprehensive view of the home’s condition before the purchase because the seller did not permit a pre-purchase inspection. This legislation would have been very helpful.

Furthermore, today, developer-purchasers are at an advantaged position because they themselves can assess a property based on their considerable experience and expertise. That capability is not one that an ordinary purchaser has. This secondary effect serves to increase the velocity of home sales that will potentially *not* be owner-occupied but instead flipped or turned into rental properties.

I wholeheartedly endorse this initiative.

There should also be standardized training and licensing for home inspectors. Inspection should be more thorough – my current place passed its inspection, new building / I’m the first owner. There are water leaks around my juliet door (slider), the bathroom fan ductwork is connected to the units above and below me, soundproofing is deficient, and more. I feel like the home inspector should have been required to inspect the outside of the building and that even comparatively good inspectors are a rip-off. There does need to be an inspection process but it needs to be overhauled.

The issue of forgoing housing inspections is a symptom of a much larger issue in the housing stock/market in Massachusetts and nationally. It is disheartening to see time, money, energy spent on this issue. Investment corporations who are buying up housing left and right have deep pockets to forgo inspections, pay taxes/fees. Restructure investment purchases so that these corporations contribute to a fund that builds more housing? Make it so that investment corporations are last to the table on a sale. Do anything that helps regular MA residents purchase a home.

As a someday first time home buyer this would level the playing field for me to compete with offers. I can’t imagine trying to buy a home without an inspection but from what I hear that’s very normal right now. I’m a single parent—home buying is going to be hard enough!

I reviewed the legislation and, as I understand it, would support it. As I understand the bill, while it makes the option of a home inspection mandatory, it does not prohibit a buyer from forgoing an inspection and there are situations where an inspection is not needed. For example, there are cases where the buyer intends to demolish or substantially renovate a home and really has no need for an inspection. Also, an experienced developer may be purchasing one or more homes and, based on experience, has no need for an inspection.

Thank you for seeking feedback on this issue.

Given that this is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make, it is incumbent on government to require inspections so that people know what they are getting into. I think too many people, knowing the tight market, are willing to forego the inspection just so their offer can be accepted, and this sets them up for problems down the road. Requiring this will level the playing — and bidding — field.

People who buy and sell homes are adults. They can decide to agree to an inspection or not. Inspections are often used by perspective buyers as a way to reneogiate the price, which increases both closing time and the probabilty that the sale falls through. Inspections are expensive. Even if a seller wants a buyer to waive an inspection contingency, the buyer can usually still pay for an inspection before they place their bid. Beacon Hill should do less, not more. We don’t need this level of micromangement.

We had several houses inspected before we bought our house. We ended up not buying the ones that we passed over for various reasons, not only including the inspection reports. But we found the inspections critical. There a lot of hidden problems that houses can have. One thing that we realized in the process of buying was that the home inspection is not a matter of the house “passing,” or “failing” the inspection. Rather is a matter of knowing what the home’s issues are. With that info, the buyer can decided if the offer is still suitable.

I agree that “market power” should not allow sellers (and their agents) to force prospective buyers to waive inspections. Having sold a (Belmont) house recently, I gladly accepted my realtor’s use of this precondition because I wanted a rapid sale prior to relocating. But it’s an unfair burden for buyers to have no recourse just because demand so greatly outstrips supply. Had this regulation been in effect at the time of my home sale, it would have been an inconvenience and a delay. But the public policy trade-off is in favor of such a rule.

A home inspection saved us from a major, potentially life-altering mistake. When we were looking to buy our home, the inspector we used discovered that the basement support beams were like balsa wood… they were riddled with termite damage. We were able to pull out of the purchase, and now we’ve been in the place we ended up buying instead for 20 years here in Allston. Everyone should have a chance to use an inspector.

The idea of needing to forgo an inspection on a huge purchase has always been to frightening. And has been one of the reasons I’ve been kept out of the market. Houses cost to much to then add another huge unknown

I am aiming to buy my first home and have been looking for over a year. This market is challenging to say the least. I have put offers in on a few homes, but each time I am either outbid, or the seller chooses another buyer without the inspection contingency attached. This tells me that sellers know there are faults within the home and are passing on the headache and expense to the buyer. Legislation like this would support both buyers and sellers; buyers would not end up buying a damaged or dangerous home, and sellers would be forced to make necessary safety repairs before listing their home.

I bought my apartment over 20 years ago and a home inspection was an absolute must — in addition to identifying any serious problems with the apartment itself and the building where it’s located, a home inspection can also provide good suggestions for future improvements. I don’t know if I would be willing to buy an apartment or house without first having a reputable home inspector do a walk-through, first — the risks are just too high.

This will help level the playing field especially for first-time homeowners and those with lower means.

It terrifies me that people are buying houses without inspections, and that buyers & sellers are getting away with it. The housing market is fiercely competitive, but this safety issue should not be the determining factor on a “winning” bid. I strongly believe that it is the seller’s responsibility to disclose and/or fix any major structural or necessary defects in a house. I’m saddened that many sellers (many of whom are in older generations and have lived in said house for decades) are selling their houses at astronomical prices (defects and all!) just because they “deserve it” or the “market says it’s so”. I fully recognize that an inspection might not save a buyer from everything, but I hope that passing this legislation will help sellers stay truthful in the condition of their property.

This would be a great bill that would increase fairness in the home-buying process.

I have seen too many people get burnt by not having good home inspections done in my personal and professional life as a counselor and advocate for undeserved people. I am also familiar with the quality or lack thereof of home inspections in our area. People don’t realize that big companies like Tiger dont really provide adequate service butthey are drawn to the low cost. ASHI certified inspectors are more expensive but provide the buyer with the report they need to make an informed decision. I recommend that the state provide information on how to pick an inspector regardless of whether this legislation passes.

Hopefully the debate about this legislation will raise awareness on the importance of this issue.

I think this is a good idea. Flippers will have to do more than just cosmetic work if everyone is bringing their own inspector. It will be a huge help to 1st time buyers who don’t know what to look for when evaluating a property. It my calm the market a bit too, by reducing the number of way over list offers for houses in rough shape. It will be good for honest sellers as well. Buyers nervous about things they think might be an issue but really aren’t, like checking in an exposed beam can have their fears quelled.

Fully support. Seems clear to me the trend in waiving the inspection is part of the larger shift in transaction value from buyers to sellers as buyer negotiating power continues to evaporate in the face of legally imposed supply shortfalls. That, combined with an aging housing stock, is setting up increasingly unfair transfer of wealth from buyers to homeowners, and of risk from old, legacy homeowners to younger, upstart, first-time home buyers, who are often right at the age where they are seeking to start a family. Lots of perverse incentives right there and another stark reminder to expand new housing supply through any viable means, most especially private housing under a freer zoning regime throughout the state. (Reform zoning—a tax-free solution to a devilish problem!). While this bill obviously doesn’t address the underlying issues, it at least stems the bleeding for buyers in the meantime.

The horror stories are sad but the bill’s drafting is just awful. Overcomplicated, unenforceable, guaranteed to produce unintended results like lawsuits, and won’t do a thing to fix the problem. You can’t protect people from their own stupidity. And institutional investors will always be able to signal that they don’t care about inspections, making the market even worse for natural buyers and sellers.

What you *might* consider doing is providing sellers with extra liability protection if they have home inspections. Then all the parties could sort out the details themselves.

Overall, though, your goal ought to be to remove pointless requirements, not add them. I just had to pay an extra $1000 on an emergency home furnace replacement to bring the exhaust into compliance with a new code requirement. There has essentially almost never been a case of this part failing in the way the regulation warns about. We have simply empowered a body of unelected useless bureaucrats to sit around, scratch their stomachs and imagine what might possibly go wrong with no cost/benefit analysis required. I remember about a decade a go a new requirement came out about the weight-bearing capacity of wall sconces. Literally no one in history has ever been injured by wall sconces that couldn’t support their chin-up weight. But I guess it seemed like a good idea and hey, it’s just the sucker homeowners who have pay, amirite?

Check out the hordes fleeing the state because they can’t afford to live here anymore and wonder if that might be a more important problem to fix.

I am a big proponent of buy protections in most or all forms. However I think enforcement of this will be challenging or impossible. It will just create new ways to skirt it while propping up the home inspection industry. The solution to housing in MA is not more layers of regulation, but copying California and removing local control from at least some amount of zoning. That leverages the markets to control the cost.

The proposed legislation is a solution in search of a non-existing problem. Those looking to purchase a home have the right to a home inspection if they so choose. This legislation eliminates their choice. There a several reasons why a potential purchaser would want to waive inspection. For one they might themselves be a contractor and already have a feel for what is needed to fix the place. So why should they have this cost imposed on them. Likewise, a buyer that chooses not to have an inspection, might make his or her offer more attractive.

This is more government overreach. If they want an inspection, they can get one now.

Let people decide for themselves as to how they want to contract and what risks to take in this matter. Trust them to inform themselves as they see fit; and to learn from their mistakes.

This one seems like a very good idea.

Other issues to consider:

1. MA has an abysmal recored on VA Mortgages. Banks have gone out of their way to set up barriers and costs to negate benefits to veterans. Shouldn’t this be investigated and corrected?

2. MA Banks insist on lawyers being involved in housing purchases. This is simply not done in most other states. This adds additional costs to house purchases. Why?

3. Title Insurance is insisted upon by banks, but is often not worth anything if improper research was done by the company. How can this be strengthened?

We had to waive the inspection to be considered for our condo. Luckily the only issues have been things we expected in an older building but it could have definitely gone another way. With so many people able to pay cash and make over asking bids waiving the inspection helped us because we needed a mortgage. We actually just need more housing so there isn’t so much crazy competition for the few places on the market.

Great idea.

This is an excellent proposal. Inspections should never be waived.

With a deficit in available housing inventory, friends and family I know have been pressured into waiving the inspection in order to “outbid” other buyers. This is dangerous to all consumers. Buyers have the right to know what they are buying, even if they’re automatically willing to purchase a home that will require additional repairs. Sellers may not know that these problems exist — it’s not that they’re necessarily nefarious!

If this legislation is passed there also needs to be higher standards for home inspectors. When I bought my current house the inspector missed key structural things that I would have used to negotiate for compensation. When I sold my condo, the buyers home inspector listed things incorrectly resulting in additional expenses for us because they were listed as not to code when they actually complied with the codes.

My son just bought a home with the help of a friend who is in construction and who checked out the home carefully. If he hadn’t waived the inspection, he would not have gotten the house. While it wasn’t as good as having a licensed home inspector, he knew the risks and I don’t think he would have benefitted from having it mandatory.

We were unable to buy a home in 2021 because of this exact issue. We weren’t willing to waive an inspection and never got an accepted offer. We gave up and are now priced out of the market entirely. This legislation is deeply needed.

I would also love to see legislation about how many homes LLCs are able to purchase, as the majority of homes are sold to companies that flip the property, strip the character of the house, and sell at a huge profit. There aren’t many opportunities for a family to buy their first home and we would love to.

This legislation would level the playing field so that developers don’t get a leg up on average homebuyers.

The shortage-induced intensity of today’s housing market gives an unfair advantage to wealthier buyers (and flippers) with both ready cash and an indiference to hidden costs discovered after the purchase. This law would slow things down a drop and protect more money-constrained buyers.

My family was in the “flipping houses” business before it was cool. I think the pressure to skip an inspection forces first-time buyers and nonprofessional buyers to shoulder much greater risks than is fair by creating the expectation that they have to lay down money on an unknown purchase. What it means is that only people who have contracting experience or a family member in the biz will be able to see what is wrong with a house and make an informed decision in a pressurized market. Inspections are a cheap way to keep everyone honest. I hope your bill will level the playing field for other folks who don’t have these advantages.

I have mixed feelings. If the house is essentially a gut and the buyer knows that, it would seem advantageous for the buyer to waive inspection and save the money, but I can see how people can get misled by sellers agents . Maybe requiring buyers to be extremely informed about the risk of waiving inspection might help. Don’t lenders require inspection? I thought do but am not sure

IMO this should be mandatory and the prices for these inspections should be set to prevent price gouging which has apparently become the rage in all sectors of our economy.

Caveat emptor, buyer beware.

Am aware that in the clamor of the marketplace, in order to lock a property, prospective homeowners may forego an inspection. I looked at the proposed legislation, which simply deals with the problem by creating a right to inspection within a minimum of ten days. Sensible solution.

Home inspections don’t reveal everything. We bought a house, had a problem with an electrical outlet in an upstairs bedroom. I looked up in the attic and found the outline/stain of a squirrel next to a spot where the wire went down into the stud wall. The squirrel had chewed the insulation off completely and electrocuted itself. I suspect the previous homeowner had found the squirrel because it decomposed and started to reek. They never got repairs made. There clearly could have been an electrical fire in this situation. Same house, the deck on the first floor was put down incorrectly, something easily missed on inspection (it was). This was the fault of the original builder. We wound up with no recourse and incurred significant repair costs because we could have only gone back to the builder for one year after construction and we were second owner of a then 30 year old house. For egregiously wrong construction that does not come to light for an extended period, there should be no “statue of limitations.”Have to have home inspections!

This would balance dynamics among buyers & sellers. We are currently in the market & the selling prices of poor quality homes are astonishing. And to be competitive the inspection clause has to be waived. It would be a huge help to restore this practical aspect of home buying.

I think this is incredibly important. I bought my first home from a “well-known builder”—it was brand new and the inspection was supposedly done by an independent contractor. Given the nightmare that’s ensued, I’m hard pressed to believe he was independent, and will do a 2nd inspection without fail on any future home. So, I think it’s absolutely necessary to have at least one inspection and probably a good idea to have a second. Thank you for your attention to this matter!

Home inspections are very important especially for those who do not have the resources to pay for unplanned repairs particularly when just purchasing a home. The middle class is getting priced out of buying real estate when wealthy buyers pay cash often above asking price and waive the inspection.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate, I believe this is an important legislation to protect future home buyers!!

There are so many challenges in the MA housing market right now. The waiving of inspections is a symptom of a bigger problem: a lack of housing stock. I support this legislation and I hope you do as well. But most of all, I would like to see aggressive, state wide zoning reform the prioritizes the growth of housing stock in our cities and towns.

not only this is obviously much safer for buyer, but this is an overall safety measure for EVERYONE. It may pinpoint even something small that may be overlooked or not checked for financial reasons and cause issues in the long run that could affect not only this particular home t but a whole neighborhood.

Please stand up for a Gaza Ceasefire now

This seems like an unnecessary addition to the administrative state, and could actually increase the cost of buying a home if it also means buyers are forced to do an inspection before signing the PSA.

Buying a home is the single largest expense most people have in their personal life, and nobody goes into it unadvised. If buyers are choosing to waive inspection, that is a commercial decision they are making with their advisors (brokers or whomever).

I’m assuming by unwaiveable, you mean that buyers also will not be able to sign the PSA without doing an inspection or having a closing condition. Since no seller will want to have a closing condition after the PSA, that will mean that buyers will be FORCED to do an inspection, which will just be an additional cost for the buyer.

Why should the state impose that cost on buyers? Will the state offer to pay for it?

This state already has too many laws. Nobody can possibly follow all the laws because there are too many. The legislature should spend a few years looking over laws that can be repealed instead of making new ones.

Home inspection is crucial since most home buyers do not have the expertise to identify potential and costly repairs.

Bought our home in 2018 in Belmont in a competitive market (10% bid over ask to secure the home) and waived inspection and contingencies. Fortunately we had no problems arise, but it was scary at the time.

I support this legislation! Thanks Senator Brownsberger!

Purchasing a house is a grown-up activity. Caveat Emptor! Beware the Nanny State. Let’s put our energy into creating more housing, then the market won’t be so tight.

This might make it easier for me to move forward on buying a house if the time comes around.

When Jim and I were house hunting, we found a lovely home in Watertown off a side street. Ready to buy, we got a home inspection. He found the owners had buried

Toxic materials in their backyard. We wound up not getting that home but one in Cambridge very close to the Watertown line.

People should take responsibility for their actions. Waiving a home inspection is a valuable negotiation tool that should not be eliminated. This type of state-nannyism shodul not be part of the legislative agenda. Home buying is a serious and complex process. If people need education on this, there’s plenty of free coursed on Youtube. Let people make their own decisions.

It is way too difficult and expensive to buy a home these days and the fact that people have to agree to waive inspection just to get a decent shot at buying is frankly criminal given the types of safety issues that inspections can uncover.

Those waiving inspections may be doing so with the expectation that a full renovation is planned including further work on a foundation or critical elements.

In many of these cases, these are elderly owners who haven’t kept up with maintenance or estate executors. I don’t know that requiring an inspection here will do much beyond delaying these closes and adding unnecessary costs

Having lived in Boston for 15+ years, at one point in time I thought I might be able to buy a condo and/or house at some point. But in those years, the spiking housing prices, the cash offers, at the waiving of inspections have caused me to continue renting. I cannot compete with cash offers and I refuse to waive an inspection.

not only this is obviously much safer for buyer, but this is an overall safety measure for EVERYONE. It may pinpoint even something small that may be overlooked or not checked for financial reasons and cause issues in the long run that could affect not only this particular home t but a whole neighborhood.

Professional home inspections should be kept.

It seems totally crazy to me to buy a house without an inspection!!

We just lost an offer in Watertown to someone who waived inspection. It’s so frustrating. Please fix this!

The legislature might also want to investigate other aspects of the home-buying process. For example, the attorney representing the seller in our case (in 1997) was representing not only them but us. Since we’d had an inspection I wasn’t worried about any problems with the house, but it seemed a weird situation on the face of it.

I waived the inspection contingency and got an information only inspection prior to moving in. It missed a 13 year old leak that had been painted over but i still support the bill but caution that inspectors don’t catch it all. They are not experts in any of the fields (they do not scope sewer, do not perform any invasive examination) and some inspectors are utterly useless.

should not be required

People disclosing a business interest

Unwaivable rights are tricky. I think people can decide for themselves whether or not a home inspection is warranted. Government should not mandate this.

The Real Estate industry is already in a state of flux/chaos with the ensuing changes. Passing this legislation, will further place a burden on buyers, by requiring them to PAY for an inspection as well as (potentially) their buyer agent’s commission. Will this legislation also put pricing controls on inspection costs? With this requirement, inspectors can and likely will charge inflated costs for their service. Also, there is a good chance that this will put upward pressure on pricing by seller’s anticipating renegotiating and repairs.

Unless new homes are magically found somewhere, this market doesn’t appear to be swinging in buyer’s favor anytime soon. Buyers should absolutely be entitled to a full understanding of what it is they’re buying. It’s basic consumer protection in my opinion.

I’m a real estate agent, this would only make my job harder and I still support this

forcing all individuals to get a home inspection is a waste of time. many of my clients often look over the home on their own as its not their first home. since its not their first home they know what to look for and what not to look for. they are aware they no home is pefect and therefore dont waste everyone’s time. In selling your home time is money. this Bill will hurt the value of all homes. ive also had clients bring a contractor to a showing to look over vital components before making an offer. this bill is nothing more then nieve legislative interferance which will benefit noone.

While some will condemn this legislation for instituting more “nanny state” laws, history teaches that in this overheated housing market, Buyers should be helped to get honest disclosure rather than being pressured to purchase without appropriate knowledge of conditions of the property being purchased. Likewise, Sellers should not have the option to utilize the strong market to drive sales without full disclosure. The market demand should be reflected in the price of property, not by allowing a seller to use peoples need for housing and market pressure to fail to disclose material conditions.

There are disclosure rules for sales of securities and a host of other things which often are 1/100th of the price of a house. It seems appropriate to manage disclosure in a market that will often have buyers making the largest expenditure in their lives.

The consumer should not have to be forced into inspections especially if the seller does not want it. This violates the rights of sellers, and automatically makes a determination of how long or short a transaction should go. You have absolutely no right to make that determination. Should we have a 10 day inspection on cars to determine if we want to buy them or not? Free Market, stop injecting the government into it.

If the inspection is a requirement, the home seller may need to provide it prior to listing the home for sale. Why would it be the responsibility of each offer from a possible multiple-buyer purchase?

A buyer could hold multiple properties hostage with this window. Get one accepted, see what comes on the market the following weekend and choose from there.

There should be value placed on buyers willing to make a dream home work over the casual searcher who knows they have a way out if they get cold feet or loses interest.

Buyers should have the opportunity to decided whether they would like to have a home inspection or waive a home inspection. There are multiple situations in which buyer’s still have full transparency and opportunity to assess the home. This can be through the seller’s sharing their home inspection report from 2/3 years ago, new construction warranty, getting a pre inspection done in advance to be more competitive, or multiple of other options. The number one priority is making sure that buyers have all the information to make the best decision for themselves!

There are various ways that buyers have homes inspected including being in the trades themselves, informally with their contractor, and as pre-inspections before offers are reviewed. The customary timeline for an inspection when it does occur post-offer is 7 days. Home inspectors disclose themselves that they can’t see through walls or be expected to identify any possible defect. While the intention is admirable, this specific proposal overly burdens sellers and therefore reduces the value of their home by adding extended uncertainty and volatility to the home sale process.

The justification used for this proposal is a localized issue so why not tailor the solution to fit it?

Sometimes professional home inspections aren’t needed as the property may be remodeled or the buyer is knowledgeable enough to inspect the home himself, Its also the buyer choice to waive the inspection.

The home inspection industry is very incompetent and probably biased towards the seller/real estate agency . My experience is that they miss significant issues (eg rotten sills and structural issues), diminish any issues that will harm the sale and focus more on cosmetics.

A better item to focus on is improving the professionalism of the home inspectors, making them independent of the real estate industry and giving them a inventive to fairly assess the structural issues of a property. Set up an independent database of professionals and have them provide some type of warranty to the home buyer (refund of fees if a significant issue is found in 90 days).

This is an unecessary and bad regulation.

Buyers tend to waive inspections only in the most conpetitive times and situations. We encourage buyers to have pre-0ffer inspections or have contractors in etc.

This would tie up the sale of a house for as much as ten days and the buyer could walk away.

Let’s build more houses

It is the right of a buyer and a seller to chose the terms of an offer. A buyer can have a home inspection before submitting an offer. They can have a home inspection but not have it as a contingency. They would only risk the initial deposit.

The market is competitive and buyers have a right to waive an inspection if they are comfortable. Sellers have a right to chose an offer that is best for them.

Buyers have tried too many times to negotiate price after an inspection. The seller is btwn a rock and a hard place bc the property has been off market for 10 days .

This is way too much government interference.

As an agent, I feel it is frankly dangerous that people waive their opportunity to have an inspection, and I would welcome it being a requirement that just takes the decision out of the process. I know there are states where the seller is required to have an inspection prior to listing and that seems like a viable alternative as well.

By the way I got to this link via an email sent from a home inspector urging me to vote no. I don’t understand that.

Massachusetts has always been a Caveat Emptor state (meaning buyer beware). This will adversely affect free trade and create more regulation. We have become over-regulated. This is the problem with current government. It wants to protect everyone from every possible adverse consequence and in the process adversely affects other aspects of the market. What about the family selling a relatives home with no utilities on and broken water pipes? There is no reason for a home inspection on this property, and an experienced investor will purchase. This is more regulation we don’t want. Leave this choice to the buyer.

Inspections can be important but why would the govt mandate leverage a buyer may choose especially now when buyers are facing so many obstacles to partake in ownership. It’s their choice!

This sounds like it is full of good intentions, but as risky as it is to waive an inspection, which I always advise my clients not to, sometimes it is the only part of the offer that a buyer can control or change and sometimes it is the only way that a buyer can ever get their offer accepted. Do not take this away. Let the adults decide their own destiny!!!!

Hi. I am a realtor, but I’m also an investor, property manager, landlord, and ASL interpreter. Half my clients are deaf. I’m one of you or, actually, the only full-time licensed realtor who is also a nationally certified ASL English interpreter in the Boston area. I’ve been interpreting for 40 years and helping people buy and sell their homes for $25. I’ve also been a landlord property manager real estate investor for 35 years. I bring great experience to my clients. And great knowledge of the market. And I can always help them win in a multi-bid situation. The problem is this very low inventory and waving contingencies has always been the way to win. Of course we do look for many many things that could be problematic down the road. I’m not an inspector. But I’ve had the Good Fortune of being on approximately 250 inspections. My buyers only go forward if they feel comfortable and understand about possible items they need to pay for later, and understand about structure, roofs, systems and utilities. They go in with open eyes or we don’t go in at all. My buyers are very very happy when I help them get a home. Especially in this competitive market. Losing the ability to waive the inspection will hurt many more people than it’ll help. Even inspectors want us to vote no on this. And they benefit directly with each inspection.

I’ve worked with you before another issues and I have a lot of respect for you. I hope that you will reconsider putting forth this new bill. It will hurt buyers everywhere, and sellers who want to move things along and have a smooth transaction, and it will also have a ripple effect, on the process in general.

Thank you, and feel free to write me with any questions, at any time.

This is unfair government oversight. A seller should not be forced to have a waiting period of 10 days when the same can be accomplished quickly.

It is a buyers right to determine if they need an inspection; they should be allowed to decide for themselves if they want to spend the money and time on this step.

It is the seller’s right to want timely due diligence and a 10 day waiting period could cost them greatly with market timing and momentum, putting them at an unfair disadvantage.

I am a Realtor and have often given up my right to inspection when purchasing a home for myself because I felt it was the best decision in the circumstance. As a home buyer, that should be my right. The government should not make this decision for me.

This bill sounds like it is mandating home inspections. It would require buyers to spend money for a home inspection. Buyers can decide themselves whether to have an inspection or not. Buyer may be a contractor or have a family member that is a contractor so there would be no need for legislation requiring such an inspection. Sounds like big government trying to impose rules. Not necessary.

I am concerned that mandating home inspections is more than necessary. One size does not first all and it may impose a burden on buyers who know they are buying a “fixer upper” or willing to take a risk, sight unseen. It strikes me as begging to be accused of Liberal “big government” and “nanny state”.

I did a double take on the phrasing of “home buyers not being forced”. Wouldn’t it be easier to make it a 93A reg that prohibited a realtor or seller from preventing a home inspection. That would be akin to hiding a defect, already a 93A violation. Language like “preventing a realtor or seller from preventing a prospective buyer from adequately examining the real estate being puchased, which would include but not be limited to as home inspection by a certified . . . ” might be a better choice.

This bill would be just a nice gift to the RE inspectors industry group. I do not believe that it is the state’s role to prevent people from making mistakes in their real estate transactions. A buyer has the responsibility to insist on an inspection or walk away. Sellers have a right to choose buyers who are willing to make the transaction fast and simple. It’s all about willing sellers and willing buyers. It’s up to them to exercise their judgment. Down with nanny state.

I am afraid that listing realtors and sellers will come up with excuses not to allow an inspection. In addition with multiple offers, the seller will always choose the offer that waives the inspection. Also the state of ma does not have the legal resources to bring action against violators. Home inspector

I think the idea has merit. But I think there could be more exceptions. (Contractors or architects and others in the building trades, for example.) It’s worth noting that many buyers are hiring inspectors in advance of the offer, inspecting the property, then waiving that contingency in the offer. My buyer clients are always encouraged to do this and are asked to sign a form that we’ve advised them to have an inspection, in the event they choose to waive it. It can get expensive to do this as many buyers are offering over and over and failing. Simply not enough homes to meet demand. It would most likely be a more even playing field if all would-be buyers made offers subject to inspections. And, of course, become more informed about the condition of the property one is purchasing.

People have a freedom to contract! Too burdensome.

In a buyer beware state like Massachusetts, the Home Inspection and title insurance are really the only consumer protections afforded to home buyers. The current Real Estate Market and housing shortage has forced most home buyers to waive their inspection contingency with their offer in the hopes to win a bid on a home that has 4, 8, 20+ different offers. This is an unnecessary risk that the current market forces upon the consumer who, for many first time home buyers, are risking their life savings on the hope the house they are buying does not have major hidden defects and or life safety issues. Transparency in a market system is critical to promote fairness in our economic system. It is the vulnerable population of renters becoming 1st time home buyers, historically disadvantaged / discriminated groups, and Veterans utilizing VA loan products that require certain inspections who are unfairly pushed to make a decision: forgo an inspection possibly inheriting safety and financial risks or be denied they opportunity to buy a home. Ensuring consumers have the option / right to have a home inspection protects the health, safety and finances of the consumer, brings transparency to the transaction, helps improves the general condition of the housing stock in the state, and will not adversely affect the market, the number of homes sold, or the value of homes in general. The health and safety of young families and maintenance of a fair market system is what this legislation protects.

I am really mixed on this – On the one hand I believe everyone making this kind of purchase should have the property inspected – on the other hand, I don’t think it is the governments place to mandate it.

That said – I do think the government should mandate when a property is part of an HOA that full disclosure is made by the seller – requiring the sell provide a package containing the bylaws , minutes of meetings for the last three years , budgets for the last three years

My only concern with this legislation is that it is presented in a way that is insinuating that buyers are forced to NOT get home inspections. That is NEVER the case. A buyer always has the right and choice to make that decision. If a buyer feels forced it is more likely due to the immense competition that we have for homes in MA but a buyer can always do a home consultation before they offer on the home if they are concerned about being competitive and want to know about the property they are considering.

I don’t understand who wrote the legislation about a buyer being forced into something. That is false.

Waiving inspections is completely optional and should absolutely remain that way. There are many instances where home buyers WANT to waive the inspection, which gives them leverage in a competitive market. If you force inspections always, then you punish both sellers and buyers, especially investment buyers who are well aware of the risks of waiving an inspection. This sounds like typical “nanny state” legislation that treats home buyers as “dummies” that do not understand the risks of waiving an inspection. Nothing could be further from the truth. This legislation is completely unnecessary, and the only ones who benefit would be the home inspection industry. I urge you to oppose any such legislation.

This bill helps to restore consumer protection that was initiated by Home Inspector licensure in 2001. Back then, it was simply customary for a seller to expect a buyer to have an inspection on such a major investment. However, that ability to have an inspection was never guaranteed by licensure – homebuyers never had a “right” to an inspection, they could just ask for one. Buyer protection has since eroded significantly as competition has increased, resulting in homebuyers waiving inspections in order to remain competitive. This bill would restore that buyer protection.

We need to train more home inspectors with a state funded program that shares the costs with private insurance companies.

Love this! I also think in this incredibly hard market for people to buy in those with more money can easily forgo a home inspection because it’s not a problem, which once again puts other buyers at disadvantage however, we can equal the playing field is brilliant.

And a total sidenote, I was just at the Watertown library which has a massive parking problem and I spoke to the sweetest library and who told me the town doesn’t care, so maybe you can make them care about parking because it’s an incredible resource and there’s nowhere to park to be able to access it.

As a Realtor, I’m in favor of home inspection. I believe they are necessary-making it mandatory is another cost some buyers don’t care to spend. Some buyers are quite experienced and don’t need to spend the $600-$1200. We are regulating our country into a socialist atmosphere.

We Americans are supposed to have the freedom to make our own decisions, whether they are right or wrong…WE have to have the opportunity to choose for ourselves.

Buyers and sellers should be free to negotiate the deal. Forcing an inspection will add time and cost to some transactions. Any issues with foundations should be apparent even to a novice home buyer.

As a real estate law practitioner who handles a lot of residential transactions, this is a good thing for everyone. The transactional costs associated with inspections and security they provide to all parties are worth it in terms of mitigating potentially disastrous risk in waiving the inspection. Residential purchases are generally a big deal for most people who aren’t investors – everyone should have access to the same information.

Caveat emptor. This is unnecessary legislation. In a free market, everything is negotiable. We already have protections for serious health and safety risks, such as smoke detectors, and title five. You need to think about unintended consequences. As soon as you mandate home inspections. Then all the home inspectors will jack up their prices.”

On quick review, there are a few problems with the bill, both textually and substantively:
  1. Ordinarily, there is a listed price, then a buyer will make an offer (maybe through a broker) and it is orally or even in writing accepted “subject to a mutually acceptable Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S) being executed”. The Bill in Section 1 and after talks about “seller’s acceptance” triggering certain rights/actions. Is it the oral acceptance, or after a written P&S is signed that triggers the time period? You may not want to go through the expense of a lawyer negotiating a P&S if the sale is voided after the inspection.
  2. Probably should say something about a “broker’s fee” not being due if there’s a sale agreement but the sale does not go ahead pursuant to cancellation under this section. A broker might otherwise claim a fee if the sale is cancelled due to seller’s alleged fault (i.e., not previously disclosing or fixing a problem).
  3. Section 2- typo-it should read, “…prospective purchaser’s right TO have said….”
  4. Section 2- Is this meant to allow sale at foreclosure to allow demanding a waiver by bidders of an inspection ?
  5. Section 2, para. 2- This is too much- this, in effect says, that if Buyer tells Seller before Seller accepts Buyer’s offer, that they (Buyer) are aware of their right to have an inspection after the offer is accepted but they won’t be exercising that right, that Seller CANNOT SELL TO THAT BUYER. It is one thing to give someone a right to an inspection, but another to (i) inhibit someone from selling to a prospect who let’s you know from the outset that they won’t be exercising that inspection right, or (ii) inhibiting that buyer from being able to buy because they have determined that they can afford to deal with an “as is” purchase, something that occurs frequently in the world. In effect, it disallows a form of “outbidding”, which I don’t think has become unlawful.
  6. Section 2, para. 3- This talks about mandatory language inserted in the OFFER, which then makes references to “terminating this agreement” after the offer is accepted (which might be oral, before the P&S-see above comment). The language needs to be cleaned up, at minimum.
  7. This proposes a “sole discretion” termination of the agreement by Buyer, irrespective of what the inspection says – gets to terminate even if the inspection says the property is “perfect” ? There is no obligation to at least give the inspection report to the Seller? What if there is disclosure of a problem in the P & S, and an agreed price reduction figure listed “provided it is confirmed by the inspection”- does Buyer still have a right to ignore the P&S provision and call off the deal even if the inspection confirms?
  8. Section 4- Also crazy- Even if there is a de minimus deviation from the “disclosure” text, or a legitimate disagreement about compliance (i.e., time periods, scheduling the inspection, etc.), but after the fact deemed a violation, Seller will now have to pay, at minimum, 10K, or 60K for a 1.5 million house (not uncommon price for many suburban homes), and that is to a PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER, not even someone who went ahead and bought and was damaged, and it appears to also similarly expose a broker for 93A damages
  9. There is a detriment to a Seller by imposing these time delays, and they might lose an interested buyer in the interim, so both party’s interests should be considered.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

2 replies on “Home Inspections”

  1. Senator Brownsberger, As we discussed last week I think this is an extremely important bill for home buyers, especially in light of the national news regarding commissions for realtors. It may flesh out that buyers will be working with fewer buyers agents, having less representation. The home inspection will be an important opportunity for a buyer to have a professional on their side of the transaction. Link to NYTimes article below.


  2. Not a single provision of this act would help central Mass buyers who purchased homes made with defectively formulated concrete that continues to deteriorate. Inspectors can’t predict the future and they don’t perform chemical analysis of building materials. I have no idea that was the issue inspiring this legislation or I would’ve mocked it more openly.

    I had to smile at this:
    “While some will condemn this legislation for instituting more “nanny state” laws, history teaches that in this overheated housing market, ”
    Even millionaire democrat Paul Krugman happily acknowledges houses are overpriced on the coasts due to government regulation and zoning. I’m sure a little more regulation will help this time.

    This is just another luxury belief. Wait for the avalanche of complaints in opposition the instant a seller on Brattle Street gets burned.

    Doesn’t matter. Productive people continue to flee the state.

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