I Had to Skip My Home Inspection to Win a Bidding War


  • I made offers on 11 homes before finally deciding to waive my home inspection.
  • That decision helped me secure a house so I don’t regret it, but I’m still not sure it was wise.
  • I thought a home inspection would make me feel “safe,” but now I think safety is an illusion.

Our housing search began in April of 2020 and ended in August, 2021. It ended when we finally “won” a bid, which is a term I am still at odds with. We didn’t win a house; we won the right to take out a giant loan on a tiny house. And in our case, it was a tiny house for which we did no inspection. 

When we’d begun our house search a year and a half earlier, we swore we would never do such a thing. Our realtor had broached the issue with us after we lost one bid, then two bids — three, then four. We didn’t have many aces in our hand; he knew that waiving the inspection would be a smart card to play. But fear led our way. What if something big is wrong? we said to each other. No way. No way. 

We wrote letters to sellers, to no avail

Instead of power moves involving cash we tried to plead with words, writing letters to homeowners we thought would make them love us. I’m a writer, I thought. I’ll be able to put our hearts down on paper and they’ll be unable to turn away. I was wrong. And after a while, we were told to stop writing letters altogether; told that they could actually violate fair housing laws. I felt like my only strength had been curtailed, and that the only thing that mattered was the thing we didn’t have much of: money.

After 11 bids lost, we felt more desperate than ever, and considered new options. When a house came up in our desired area, we looked at each other in resignation, and told our agent to waive the inspection. 

We got the house, but waiving the inspection still felt a little wrong

The day after we moved in, our new neighbor popped over to introduce herself. She was lovely, and incredibly kind. We chatted for a few minutes before the conversation turned to our house acquisition, when suddenly, I heard her say something about the people who have forgone inspections, and how crazy or detrimental or something that was. And I froze. I don’t hide things. Not from people I know; not even from people I don’t know. I believe in living out loud. Shame closes us off and quiets us. But in that moment, I didn’t know what to say. I shook my head in rhythm with hers, agreeing about how foolish those people were. But I am those people. We are those people. I can be honest now. 

Now I think ‘safety’ is an illusion

At this point, we’ve been in the house long enough to assume that we would have noticed something terrible; we decided not to get an inspection post-move in though we may in the future. But mostly, we just pray we somehow made a “safe” purchase in an insane market. I would love to believe this, but what I believe now — this far into my life — is something quite different. 

There is no such thing as safety — only the illusion of it. And that is what we gave up. For a patch of grass, for a backyard big enough for our kid to kick a soccer ball, for a patio we can sit on when it’s warm, for a front and back door — we gave up the illusion that we are safe from some hidden truth about this house. Maybe the foundation is faulty; maybe the roof is worn. 

But I have felt safe in cars when I wasn’t. Safe at home, when someone was breaking in downstairs. I have felt safe a hundred times when safety was absent. And I have been safe many times when I wasn’t able to tell. May this house hold us as long as we need it to, and may it hold us safely. 



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