Stucco Inspection Waived? Be Careful!

Should I waive the stucco inspection for a house I’m in love with?

Waiving a stucco inspection can make your bid on a house more attractive, but what’s the down side?  Stucco systems installed over the last 30 years can suffer from a common problem.  This problem is a construction defect, often prescribed by the architect.  By design, water is able to infiltrate the water resistive barrier behind the stucco.  This condition causes wood rot, mold, and in some cases structural damage.

Stucco Inspection is the best way to identify if this problem exists.  But understand what you’re conceding to a seller if you waive this inspection.  Sometimes this problem can cost $200,000 or more to remediate.  We find some level of issues in 50% of our inspections.  Consider this from the sellers perspective and it should become clear how they assess the value of no stucco inspection in your offer.

Failed Stucco Inspection

Scenario #1 Seller has had a stucco inspection and know there are no problems.

In this case, your waiving of the stucco inspection probably does not carry much weight with the seller. They will likely take the highest bid and allow the stucco inspection to be performed. They have very little downside if they know the results will be just fine.

Scenario #2 Seller suspects there may be an issue

In this case, the seller may have seen neighbors tear off their stucco systems revealing horrendously rotted wood sheathing. They may know the neighbors and have heard these projects can run well over 6 figures in cost. In this case, the seller is betting that an issue may be found. They may think that $50,000 or $60,000 in lower bid is worth it to them to accept without inspection. In some cases they have freshly painted the stucco to spruce things up before the sale. They may have heard horror stories from the contractor who encouraged them to get the stucco inspection performed.

Scenario #3 The previous buyer walked away

In this case the house is back on the market. There may even have been a recent price reduction. The home is being sold as is. Odds are the seller has good information that there is a major issue with the stucco. Perhaps the $100K variety. Your offer to purchase is just what they were hoping for, now you own the problem.

Do I still need a stucco inspection if the home inspector says the house looks fine?

I’ve heard countless people tell me that their home inspector said it “looks good”.  If you were worried about lung cancer, and your dentist said you “look good” you probably wouldn’t be satisfied to stop there.   In our business we know that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  The problems we are looking for are completely hidden.  Even if the stucco looks great, that does not mean there is a disaster lurking behind the walls.  Alternatively, I’ve seen horrible looking stucco with moss growing on it and terrible black stains that was fine behind it.  Take a look at the process we use to identify stucco problems here What’s Involved in a Stucco Inspection?

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