The 10 Common Problems Found During a Home Inspection

Home inspections are anxiety-inducing whether you are the homeowner or a hopeful buyer. Problems found with the property can lead to renegotiation of a deal which isn’t in your favor. They may even lead to a buyer backing out of a sale due to unexpected damages that they don’t want to waste time and money correcting.

You have to go through the inspection process for your own protection or that of your home buyer, but knowing what to expect can make the process easier to endure. The following list will introduce you to 10 of the most common problems discovered. If you are the homeowner, consider checking for these problems before your home is inspected. If you are the buyer, this will give you some idea of what to look out for when walking through homes you may want to purchase.

Roofing Problems

If it has been too many years since the roof was replaced, an inspector may find roofing materials that are old and which leave the home vulnerable to leaks and internal damage. Suggested repairs may include replacing shingles and flashing, or they may include replacing the entire roof.

An inspector may also notice signs that previous repairs were not performed to industry standards. Something as minor as cracking could signify problems that lead to leaking inside the home. If the gutters are in poor condition, an inspector may recommend replacing them to ensure water flows away from the home efficiently.

Water Damage

You may think about wet floors that need replaced when you think of water damage, but there are more extensive problems that may come up during an inspection. If the ground slopes downward toward the home, it could cause rainwater to continuously collect around the outside of the house. If this has been occurring for years, an inspection may reveal wet or molded crawlspaces or an unsettled, cracked foundation.

In some cases, the caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows may present a problem. These are not significant problems, but repairs are suggested to keep water from leaking into the home.

If the basement or garage has been flooded multiple times throughout the life of the home, an inspector may find mold, cracking and other problems in those areas as well. Wood rot, mold and other signs of water damage are sometimes revealed in bathrooms or kitchens due to water damage as well.

HVAC Issues

Homebuyers and homeowners often overlook the heating and air conditioning system as long as it works properly, but an inspector may find safety risks. Problems typically arise with systems that are not properly maintained over the years. If the furnace is old, it may not function correctly or may present a danger to the home.

Suggested repairs may include cleaning or replacing ducts, replacing outdated parts or replacing an outdated furnace. While new furnaces are expensive, they are also far more energy efficient and can save the future homeowner money on power bills.

Electrical Problems

Electrical wiring is a common issue when buying or selling an older home. If it has been many years since anyone has inspected the electrical system and it was never replaced or updated, then an inspector may find that it is not in compliance with the current code. This may mean that the entire electrical system needs replaced to reduce the risk of a house fire.

Modern homes should have proper electrical wiring that meets current code, but you cannot make that assumption as a buyer. If a previous owner made electrical repairs without consulting with a professional, they may have created problems that an inspector will discover.

Plumbing Problems

You may turn on faucets and flush toilets while going through a home and find that everything works as expected, but that doesn’t mean an inspector will agree after looking at the pipes. If the pipes are incompatible or damaged or the septic tank needs emptied, expensive repair bills are in the foreseeable future.

An inspector may also find plumbing problems within the home, such as broken fixtures or leaks under the sink. Leaks can result in water damage, including serious mold problems. Some plumbing problems are inexpensive and easy to fix, but replacing the entire plumbing system is a major expense.

Poor Ventilation

This is a common problem found in bathrooms, but other rooms of the home are not immune. Poor ventilation can damage the walls, leading to replacement of drywall at some point. Adding fans into these rooms may help.

Foundation Problems

Some signs of foundation issues may include cracks in the walls, windows and doors that stick shut or floors that slope downward. The extent of damage and cost of repairs will depend on the type of damage discovered and whether it threatens the stability of the home or not.

Environmental Hazards

Older homes that have not been renovated recently may still contain asbestos, formaldehyde, lead paint and other materials that are no longer legal building materials. Homes built after 1980 are less likely to present these problems. The extent of damage and required repairs will depend on the type of hazard found, where it is located and how much material needs removed.

General Maintenance Issues

A home may also suffer from general lack of maintenance. For example, the walls may have chipped or cracking paint, but the walls underneath the paint are undamaged and sturdy. These repairs are minor, but they may still cause renegotiation of a deal if your home is up for sale.

Termite Damage

If a home is found to have damage due to termite infestation, the repairs are often expensive. An inspector will note where the damage is found, how extensive the damage is and whether the infection is still active in the home.


Article written by

James B. Gustafon is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. He currently resides in Austin, TX and spends his time helping consumers and business owners alike try to be successful. When he's not reading or writing, he's most likely with his beautiful wife and two children.

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