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Mary O’Grady’s real estate agent had some disconcerting advice when she was looking to buy a house last year.

“She said, ‘If you don’t waive an inspection, your bid probably won’t even get considered,’ ” recalls O’Grady, 67, from Rochester, New York. “I had a huge amount of angst about that.”

Home inspections can make or break the decision to buy a house. They unearth structural and equipment problems, roof issues, faulty mechanical systems and other serious defects.

Yet a hot real estate market has left O’Grady and many others passing up the opportunity to reveal such flaws. In fact, 27 percent of buyers waived inspections in July, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“I have never seen a market like this,” says Pat Ford, a real estate agent in Spring Hill, Tennessee, who has been in the business for 37 years.