8 Most Common Issues Home Inspectors Find

Home inspections typically accompany real estate deals, giving buyers an opportunity to check out the house in greater detail with a professional in an effort to uncover any problems that may not have been detected during the initial visit. Buyers are highly advised to include a home inspection contingency in their offers specifically for this reason.

Unless you’re a trained inspector, contractor, engineer, or architect, you may not have the same eye for issues in a home that a trained and experienced home inspector does. What you may gloss over will be more likely to be caught by a professional. That way you can make a more informed purchasing decision before you sign on the dotted line.

Having said all that, certain issues are more common during home inspections than others, including the following.

1. Poor Ventilation

If there’s inadequate ventilation in the home, you could be stuck with a higher-than-necessary utility bill every month and a less-than-comfortable interior. Proper ventilation cannot be underestimated, as it’s important to reduce condensation, minimize any backdrafts, and improve the overall air quality for occupants of the home.

Your home inspector will check out all the vents in the bathrooms, kitchen fans, and roof soffits and vents. The attic will also be checked for excessive heat and vapor condensation.

2. Roof Issues

Problems with roofs are more typical in older homes that have not had their roofs replaced over recent years. However, they can also present themselves in newer homes where homeowners take on DIY roles to fix the roof themselves or have had an incompetent contractor do a shoddy job.

Any number of issues can be found with a roof, including peeling shingles, poor installation, leaks, sagging, faulty flashing, and pest infestation. Fixing or replacing a roof can be an expensive job, so an issue like this will need to be addressed at the negotiating table.

3. Poor Grading or Drainage

Adequate drainage is important to ensure that all water drains away from the home rather than towards it. Faulty grading can cause water to pool at the home’s foundation and cause leakage into the home. Alternatively, there could be a problem with foundation movement which can also negatively affect drainage.

Signs of inadequate drainage include pooling of water at the foot of the exterior walls, soft soil around the perimeter of the home, rotting walls, mold, “sticky” doors and windows, and any signs of water in the crawlspace.

This issue can be rectified by regrading the soil or adding downspouts to ensure water pools away from the home rather than towards it. However, if the foundation requires repair to fix the drainage issue, this could be a very costly project.

4. Bad Plumbing

Home inspectors typically walk around a home and turn on all sink faucets and showerheads, flush toilets, and check the plumbing pipes underneath sinks to make sure all is well. Any number of issues can be found with plumbing in a home, including slow draining, weak water pressure, and leaks in pipes, to name a few.

5. Faulty Electrical Wiring

One of the first things that home inspectors do when checking out a home is look at the electrical panel. While they are not electricians, they are still skilled enough to spot an issue if there’s one present. Inspectors will open up the panel to check the amp size of the home’s electrical service. The size of the home’s service will determine the number of appliances that can be run at one time.

If the amp size is inadequate, there could be a fire hazard in the home if too many appliances are being operated at one time. For instance, a 60 amp service would not be enough to run 200 amps worth of power. Ideally, the home should have at least 100 amps. If not, this will need to be upgraded.

The inspector will also make sure all outlets are safe and that there are no exposed wires anywhere. Electrical fires can occur if the wiring is not adequate, so this is an issue that would need to be rectified immediately.

6. Poor HVAC System

The heating and cooling system of a home will be inspected by an inspector to ensure the system is functioning properly. Unfortunately, issues with poor installation, old components, filthy filters, cracks in the heat exchanger, carbon monoxide leaks, and inadequate maintenance are common. Sometimes the fix is something as simple as cleaning or replacing the filters, whereas other times it may be necessary to completely replace a unit. 

7. Damaged Gutters

The gutters of a home will not only be checked out to see if they are full of debris and blocked, but they’ll also be looked at to see if there is any damage that is causing them to inadequately funnel water away from the home. Whether they’re clogged, bent, torn, or not large enough, faulty gutters can present a water problem for a home if they are not repaired and cleaned out.

8. Water Damage

If water or moisture is lingering in a home, this can lead to mold and mildew build-up, which are considered health hazards. That’s why it’s so important to detect any issues like these when inspecting a home. Luckily, inspectors are trained to look for signs of water damage, such as:

  • Musty odors
  • Dampness
  • Discoloration in walls and ceilings
  • Bubbling paint
  • Crumbling at junctions between ceilings and walls
  • Pools of water

If any of these signs are noticed, it will be necessary to dig a little deeper to find out the source of the problem.

The Bottom Line

Any number of issues may be discovered during a home inspection that buyers may not notice themselves. If any issues are discovered, the inspector may recommend having specialists come in to conduct more in-depth inspections for specific components of the home to make a more accurate diagnosis of any problems that may exist. The small price tag of a home inspection can save buyers thousands of dollars when all is said and done.

Should You Take Your Home off the Market?

Every seller hopes for the best when they first put their home on the market. Getting a great offer shortly after listing and selling for top dollar are obvious goals for sellers. But what happens if there are no takers? At what point should you regroup and pull your home off the market?

While the thought of taking your home off the market isn’t exactly a pleasant one, sometimes it could be a strategic move on your part in an effort to start again on a better foot. Here are some signs that it might be time to take your home off the market, even if just temporarily.

You’re Getting a Few Lowball Offers

As a seller, you obviously want to get as much money for your home as you can. But if all you’re getting are offers that are far less than the listing price, it might be tough to get buyers to inch their way up to what you’re asking.

Of course, you can always entertain these offers and try to negotiate with buyers until there’s a meeting of the minds, but repeat lowball offers can be a sign that buyers don’t think your home is worth what you’re asking. The problem is, the longer your home sits on the market, the more difficult it will be to sell. And as it lingers on the market, buyers may start to think there’s a problem with the home, which will likely continue the trend of lowball offers.

If that’s the case, it may be a good idea to take your home off the market and rethink your marketing strategy.

There Aren’t Enough Buyers Out There

If the market is lagging in terms of the number of active buyers out there, you may find it more of a challenge to find a willing buyer. This can be an even bigger issue if the competition is fierce. Few buyers and many listings create a buyer’s market, which is great for them but not so good for you.

Supply and demand play a key role in how quickly you’ll be able to sell. If you’d rather wait until the competition settles down and more buyers start flooding the market, then perhaps taking your home off the market might make sense. Otherwise, you might have a hard time selling, no matter how well-priced it might be or what condition it may be in.

The Current Market is Saturated With Listings

Sometimes properties don’t sell in a reasonable amount of time because the market is oversaturated with listings. With a massive inventory out there, buyers have their pick of the litter. Unless your home really stands out, it can easily get lost in the crowd. This is especially true if your listing price is higher than what other similar homes in the area are listed at.

If other homes are selling and yours is just lingering on the market for weeks with no bites, it might be time to make some changes.

An Improvement Needs to Be Made on the Home

Ideally, any home improvements and upgrades should be made before your home hits the market. Properties that are in tip-top shape when they’re listed tend to get the most attention and give buyers a much better impression compared to those that still need some work. Unless buyers are specifically looking for fixer-uppers or tear-downs, the majority of buyers want a turn-key property that they feel a connection to.

If you want to be able to compete in your market, there may be some upgrades that need to be made. Sometimes properties don’t sell quickly because they’re unable to compete with other listings in the area. For example, a similar home down the street that’s listed around the same price may have a newly updated bathroom and kitchen, while yours doesn’t. It would be tough to compete in this case.

Taking your home off the market can give you enough time to make the necessary improvements and be more competitive in the market. Consult with your real estate agent and focus on improvements that buyers in the area are actually looking for, and be sure not to spend more money than you’ll be able to recoup come sale time.

Your Home Needs a Price Adjustment

Pricing your home right from the get-go is one of the most important aspects of real estate marketing real. If your home is overpriced, it will almost certainly lose out on potential buyers who would have otherwise considered your home. If you’re not getting much traffic, it could very well be that your home is priced over what the current market dictates.

If you want to remain competitive, you need to ensure that your home’s price is accurate. While you could lower the price, taking it off the market and re-listing it at a completely new price can avoid any stigma that may be attached to a home that was forced to lower its price point.

Circumstances in Your Life Have Changed

Anything can happen while your home is on the market. You could lose your job, suffer a health crisis, be slapped with an unexpected expense, or go through a family dilemma. Whatever the case may be, now might not be an ideal time to sell your home because you’ll likely be more focused on whatever is happening in your life at this moment.

The Bottom Line

The idea of taking your home off the market probably never enters your mind when you first list your property. But in certain circumstances, it might just be the right choice to make to increase your odds of a successful transaction. As always, consult with your real estate agent before making any significant decisions like this.