23 Things That Fail a Home Inspection from a Certified Master Inspector

things that fail a home inspection

It’s scary to think about things that fail a home inspection. A licensed home inspector may identify red flags like safety concerns, major defects, and costly repairs in the inspection process. While there is no pass or fail with home inspections, a professional home inspector that identifies even one significant deficiency is often seen as a deal breaker.

From time to time, a home inspection may identify one or more significant issues that need to be corrected or at least negotiated upon if the sale were to go through.

Foundation problems are one of the primary things that can fail a home inspection. Major problems with the foundation and structural issues can cost several thousands of dollars to correct. The most common issues include structure, roofing, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, water drainage, lead-based paint, mold, and termite damage that require correction by a licensed contractor.

Potential red flags that can arise during a property home inspection include evidence of water damage, structural defects, problems with the plumbing or electrical systems, and mold and pest infestations. The presence of one or more of these issues could be a dealbreaker for some buyers.

Why Home Inspections Are Important
Why Home Inspections Are Important
Things that Fail a Home Inspection

Several major problems can fail a home inspection issues including:

  • Structure Issues: include damage to wood framings in the floor, wall, or roof framing and structural foundation movement caused by failed foundation piers or cracked concrete slabs that have shifted.
  • Roofing Issues: this includes damage or aged materials requiring replacement of the roof coverings. Roofing has a limited lifespan and often requires replacement early due to environmental conditions.
  • Electrical Issues: Electrical issues in older homes like ungrounded outlets, old wiring, and obsolete electrical panel boxes.
  • Plumbing Issues: Major plumbing issues include old piping, cast iron waste piping, and galvanized piping. These can also include defective materials such as ABS waste piping and Polybutylene supply piping.
  • Mechanical Issues: Mechanical systems such as furnaces, heat pumps, and water heaters have a limited lifespan and are prone to failure.
  • Water Drainage Issues: Water drainage issues can cause the home’s foundation failure. Drainage problems from water intrusion and negative grading around the house.
  • Termite Damage: Wood-destroying organisms include termites, carpenter ants, beetles, and wood-destroying fungi. Termites are the number one culprit in this category and can cause significant structural damage if left untreated. Treatment of termites can cost $500 to $1500 or more.
  • Lead-based paint: if your house was built before 1978 and has peeling paint, there’s a good chance you may have to deal with lead-based paint remediation.
  • Mold: Mold growth directly results from moisture problems caused by humidity, poor drainage, or plumbing leaks. Mold can cause respiratory problems and other health concerns. Mold in crawl spaces and attics can lead to structural problems.

Understanding Home Inspection Findings

All home inspections are subjective, and no two inspectors will write an inspection report with the same terminology. If you’ve had a home inspection and the results seem alarming, there are some questions you need to consider before making a final purchase decision.

  1. Is the deficiency a code violation? All existing homes likely have some building code violations. This is because building codes are updated every few years. Building code enforcement only applies to new building construction or renovation projects that exceed cosmetic improvements.
  1. Is this a structural deficiency? A structural deficiency typically refers to the failure of a building component. This can include wood rot or other damage to foundations, framing, or subflooring. It can also include a repair that is not done using good building practices.
  1. Is this a safety hazard? A safety hazard is any condition that could cause harm to you or other people. This can include uneven walking surfaces, electrical shock hazards, and missing smoke detectors. These safety hazard notes are not necessarily an indication a repair is needed. It’s more a “for your information” statement to alert you that the condition exists. These are generally labeled as “Safety Concerns,” “Improvements,” “Recommended Items,” or some similar variation in your home inspection report.
  1. Is this a cosmetic concern? Cosmetic concerns are typically referred to as non-structural defects that are a matter of taste or age. Wall and ceiling cracks are common items that are reported in error.
  1. Does this aging system require an update now? All systems in a home have a limited lifespan. In a home inspection, a home inspector will typically cite the age of the system and if it is working properly on the day of the inspection. No one can predict when a repair or replacement will become necessary. I’ve seen water heaters 30 years old still be in good working order, and I’ve seen heat pumps fail in as little as 6 years.
  1. Is the home priced accordingly for the condition of the house? This will vary widely based on where you live. The real estate appraiser’s role is to establish market value based on what similar homes in size and age range have sold for.

It’s worth pointing out that whether or not these potential issues should be considered a red flag is subjective. The home inspection contingency period allows time for prospective buyers to have a professional house inspection.

Some potential buyers may negotiate a fair deal for the repairs needed. You may even be able to grab yourself a bargain if you find a house with a few significant issues that you can repair without too much hassle.

Older houses do not have to meet current building codes, and rarely will a home inspector cite code violations.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that a significant issue can also be a safety concern. For example, a dated electrical system can be hazardous and is a leading cause of home fires in the USA. However, under many local building codes, electrical upgrades are only required during planned renovations.

If you believe that the property you are viewing has a specific issue, it would be wise to hire a specialist to accompany the home inspector to get a more thorough and objective analysis of the building. Suppose you have reason to believe the structural integrity of the building is damaged. In that case, you should take a qualified structural engineer who can assess the structure in much closer detail than a general home inspector.

In this article, we will look at some significant home inspection issues and a few tips and tricks on how to pick up on them yourself.

Can You Pass or Fail a Home Inspection

You can not pass or fail a home inspection. Home inspectors don’t issue a passing or failing grade for home inspections. They offer a professional opinion of the house and document findings and safety concerns.

home inspector examines the condition of a house and whether or not the systems and components are in working order.

It’s important to remember that no house is perfect. Every house, regardless of age, has some defects or deficiencies. However, just because you can not pass or fail a home inspection, a home inspection can still go wrong and become a deal breaker.

Just because a home inspector notes that repairs are recommended doesn’t mean the seller is obligated to fix anything. However, if a seller does refuse to make repairs, the buyer may decide to walk away from the deal.

Home Inspection Red Flags to Consider

Water Damage

water damage from leaking water heater

First, let’s start with one of the most serious and financially damaging home inspection issues – water damage. As you will see throughout this list, most of the issues we discuss will revolve around some form of water damage. 

When water gets into a home’s foundations and has no way of draining out, it can cause many issues. Most of these problems are significant red flags when buying a property. For example, standing water underneath the building can damage the foundation and cause your home to be unstable. An unstable foundation is subject to movement, affecting the entire house.

On top of that, damp crawl space and water that fails to drain away from the foundation can cause mold and rot, further increasing your problems. It doesn’t take an expert technician to know this is bad news. 

One of the main reasons water damage is a red flag is the high cost of the repairs.

According to WaterDamageDefense.com, in 2013, water damage and mold cost the insurance industry $2.5 billion annually.

According to InsuranceBusinessMag.com, in 2017, the total insurance payout for water damage was $13 billion. The average claim costs about $10,000.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, in 2022, The average homeowner will spend between $1,303 to $5,499 to restore or repair water damage, with an average of $3.330.

things that fail a home inspection

Building Structure Issues

Building structural issues are easily one of the things that fail a home inspection. The house’s structural integrity is one of the key aspects for assessing its strength and potential longevity. Structural damage is one of the primary things that fail a home inspection.

A house’s structure has four components; foundations, walls, floors, and the roof. Over the years, these structures can incur damage for many reasons. The home inspector documents observed conditions and assess if they pose a safety risk or building deficiency.

Damage to the foundation typically occurs due to abnormal settlement caused by shifting soil beneath the home. Over time, structural stress can cause walls to crack, uneven floors, roofs to sag, etc.

Home inspectors look for signs of structural movement like cracks in foundation walls, deteriorated masonry piers, uneven floors, step cracks in brickwork, and doors and windows that don’t close correctly.

Today’s homes use structural engineered trusses and I-beams in the roof and floor structures. Engineered building components work in conjunction with one another to carry and distribute the structural load evenly.

Any alteration to engineered trusses or I-beams, whether caused by man or environmental factors, requires repair by a structural engineer or a contractor working under the direction of a structural engineer. Plumbers and HVAC installers often cut or notch engineered trusses or I-beams without considering the potential structural implications.

Environmental examples include engineered floor or roof trusses with long-term moisture exposure causing the wood to rot or weaken. Wood rot can occur from roof leaks, plumbing leaks, or wet crawl spaces.

If you suspect the home you’re buying may have structural issues, you should consider taking a qualified structural engineer with you to assess its integrity in more detail.

things that fail a home inspection

Roofing Issues

A bad roof is one of the things that fail a home inspection. Depending on the size of your home, a total roof replacement can cost anywhere between $10,000-$100,000 or more.

According to Roofcalc.org, The national average roof replacement cost for a 1600 SF home is $5,147 for an asphalt shingle roof. Some roof replacements can be much more depending on the complexity of the roof configuration.

HomeAdvisor.com, the average homeowner spends about $8,945 for a new roof, and most pay between $5,688 to $12,238.

Home inspectors often find the roof a deal-breaker for home buyers. Roofing issues, including improper installation, age, and damage caused by hail or wind, top the list of roofing deficiencies.

Inspectors often recommend a new roof every 20 to 25 years, depending on the roofing materials. The chart below shows the approximate lifespan of the most common roofing materials:

Roofing MaterialApproximate Lifespan
3 Tab Asphalt Fiberglass Shingles~15 to 20 Years
Architecture Fiberglass Shingles~25 to 30 Years
Concrete Barrel Tile~30 to 50 Years
Metal Roofing~40 to 70 Years
Slate Tile Roofing~125 Years
Wood Shake Roofing~20 to 40 Years

The roof plays a pivotal role in protecting the structure. Roofing issues are not always visible to the untrained eye.

Here are some things to watch out for when appraising the condition of a roof: 

  • Leaks. A leaking roof can be like an onion. Layers of problems can arise, including concealed damage inside attics and walls.

  • Problems with the gutters and drainage system. Gutters are often the one area of roof maintenance that is often overlooked. Cleaning gutters is a tedious and messy task. However, when gutters are clogged, and water can’t drain properly, they will overflow and can rot out the eaves and roof sheathing.

  • Cracked or curling shingles. As shingles age, they bake in direct sunlight. As the materials dry out, they shrink, causing the shingles to crack along ridges and valleys. The edges can also curl, allowing water to seep behind the shingles. Older shingles are particularly susceptible to damage caused by wind and hail.
things that fail a home inspection

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are one of the things that fail a home inspection and are some of the most hazardous and potentially life-threatening problems you can have in a home. The US Fire Administration states an estimated 24,000 residential building fires are caused directly by electrical problems.

These fires are responsible for over $850 million in property damage and are a leading cause of fire-based fatalities.

As electrical systems age, safety issues arise. Every 2 to 3 years, the electrical code is updated with advancements in equipment and technology. The older a home gets, the more likely it is to develop electrical faults requiring an update.

According to HomeGuide.com, the cost to update electrical home wiring ranges from $2,000 to $9,000 on average, with most homeowners spending $2.65 per square foot. Electrical upgrades will vary based on the house’s size and the project’s complexity.

Outdated Electrical Panels

The electrical panel is the central hub for power in the house. Pre1950s houses would have fuse boxes, common in houses with knob and tube wiring. Between 1950 and 1965, the 60-amp service electrical panel became widely accepted and preferred for electrical distribution.

However, manufacturers built many of these panels with aluminum manufactured during wartime, which wasn’t up to quality standards. The aluminum components were prone to overheat, resulting in numerous house fires.

Many of these first-generation electrical breaker panels contained numerous defective components. Some faulty panels included Federal Pacific Stab-Lok, Zinsco, Challenger, ITE Pushmatic, etc. Home inspectors can still find many of these electrical panels in use today.

When a home inspector comes across one of these panels, it will likely be cited for potential replacement and further examination by a licensed electrician.

In Signs Your Electric Panel Needs an Upgrade – Safety & Costs to Replace, we discuss these and other electrical defects in more detail.

Outdated Wiring

Buildings at least 40 years old have a strong chance of having unnecessarily complex or hazardous electrical wiring systems compared to today’s standards. In the past, we didn’t have access to the technology we do today, which is why some households have a relatively rudimentary electrical system. 

Pre-1950 constructed homes were typically fitted with knob and tube wiring. Knob and tube wiring is a single insulated wire and operates without a grounding system which is unsafe and needs to be brought up to today’s electrical standards.

Initially introduced in the 1950s and 1960s, Manufacturers used aluminum wiring during wartime to replace expensive copper wiring. Unfortunately, this material has been directly linked to many structure fires. The sheathing on ungrounded electrical often contains asbestos materials and paper insulation.

Most electrical wiring lasts 50 to 70 years. A home built pre1970 with ungrounded wiring would be considered at or near the end of its useful life and should be examined by a licensed electrician.

Ungrounded Outlets

Electrical systems installed pre1970 have a strong chance of using ungrounded outlets. This means that the outlets do not have a grounding wire present.

On top of this, ungrounded outlets present a risk of electrical fire as arcing may ignite nearby window treatments and furniture. As ungrounded outlets and wiring age, they develop electrical issues causing the outlets to fail.

things that fail a home inspection

Plumbing Issues

While faulty plumbing may not pose much of a threat to human life, it is one of the things that fail a home inspection. Like the electrical issues listed above, old and outdated plumbing systems typically fail to stand up to the test of time.

Problems with the piping

For this reason, plumbing issues are one of the most common problems in home inspections. In older homes, galvanized and polybutylene pipes were commonplace; however, with time have fallen into disrepair, becoming brittle and starting to fail.

Sewer line clogs

Sewer pipes carry wastewater from your toilets, sinks, washing machines, showers, and baths away from your home. When this line becomes clogged and the water fails to drain properly, it can lead to a raw sewage backup which causes serious issues and damage to the property.

Problems with the water heater

Home inspectors will look at the water heater as part of their standard home inspection. A water heater lasts 10 to 15 years. A home with no hot water can require water heater replacement. A tank water heater replacement costs about $1500, whereas a tankless water heater replacement costs $3000 or more.

Evidence of leaking

We will discuss leaks later in this article; however, faulty plumbing is one of the primary causes of water damage. Damaged and leaky pipes are hard to identify until the damage is visible.

Undetected leaks waste tens of thousands of gallons of water each year and cause a series of knock-on effects to the property’s foundation, floors, and walls and contribute to the buildup of mold and mildew throughout the home.

Some issues require a plumber to repair and could cost upwards of $10,000.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, in 2022, small plumbing jobs cost between $356 and $1,996, with an average of $1,176. Repiping an entire home will run anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000. The cost will depend on your area and how much you must replace piping.

things that fail a home inspection

Mechanical Issues

The HVAC system is an essential part of the house to regulate air temperature and quality. It also helps to reduce the humidity throughout the house via increased ventilation and prevents some of the water damage issues listed above.

Generally, routinely maintained heating and cooling systems last 15 to 20 years or longer. It is the owner’s job to change the air filters frequently and ensure that all the ductwork is as it should be.

During the inspection, the home inspector will assess the HVAC system and the ductwork to ensure it is in working order. Ductwork replacement can cost $2500-$4000. An HVAC replacement can cost $5000-$9000, which earns this a place on our list.

HomeAdvisor.com, the cost to replace an HVAC system will average $7,000, with a typical range of $5,000 to $10,000 per system cost estimate. Some homes will require multiple systems. This estimate does not include ductwork replacement which averages about $2500 per system.

cracking slab from erosion

Drainage Issues

According to NACHI and ASHI-certified home inspectors, water damage is one of the things that fail a home inspection. It is responsible for most reported issues on the home inspection. Water can enter the property in many ways, but none is good news. The implications of sustained water damage pose a genuine threat to the house’s structural integrity and cost thousands of dollars to repair.

One of the significant issues with water damage occurs when excess water penetrates the foundations and finds itself in the property’s basement. Drainage problems are usually the fault of negative grading surrounding the property. 

When it rains, the water drains toward the foundation. Over time, poor drainage erodes the soil compromising the home’s structural integrity. You can see this in the form of cracks in the walls, doors that don’t close properly, uneven floors, bowing and leaning walls, and so on.

The average cost of a water damage claim is roughly $8000, but the sky is the limit for these sorts of repairs, as you can imagine. In extreme cases, it can render the property unfit for human occupation.

Here are a few of the classic tell-tale signs that there is water damage in the house:

  • Musty smell
  • Mold and mildew
  • Excess condensation
  • Dark stains on the ceilings and walls
  • Ventilation issues
things that fail a home inspection

Termites and Wood Destroying Organisms

If you are eyeing up your next family home and are ready to splash out a significant investment, a pest infestation is one of the last things you want to see. However, some pests are far more than just an unpleasant sight.

Plenty of wood-eating pests in the USA are gnawing and chewing away at your investment. Sometimes, they feed off the critical support structures in the house, such as wooden joists and necessary load-bearing walls.

The most common wood-destroying organism is termites; however, there are others. As most people know, it’s tough to keep your home completely pest-free, especially during the summer. Yet, you won’t need a professional home inspector to tell you that a pest infestation is a terrible news.

The severity depends on the pests and how far the infestation has gotten.

Wood-destroying organisms such as beetles, carpenter ants, and termites can devastate a home’s structural systems. If left unchecked for an extended period, they cause irreparable damage to the beams, walls, flooring, and foundation. 

One of the worst pests to look out for is termites, where a professional termite inspection comes into play. These tiny insects are responsible for a reported 5 billion dollars worth of damage to US property each year, mainly because they attack the critical support structures in the house. 

This is another major red flag that will often be a dealbreaker for most home buyers since lenders will usually not lend money to a house with an active infestation.

Here are the main signs that you’re dealing with a wood-destroying organism infestation in the house:

  • Evidence of nesting, mud tubes, and other remnants of activity.
  • Physical damage to structures in your home (mainly wooden structures) 

According to Orkin.com, termites and similar pests cause an estimated $30 billion in damage to crops and man-made structures in the USA alone. A homeowner who discovers termite damage will spend an average of $3,000 to repair the damage.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, in 2022, a termite treatment costs between $228 and $958, or $589 on average. Cost depends mainly on the size of the home and location. 

Homes with Lead-Based Paint Issues

Homes built before 1978 may have lead-based paint issues. Lead-based paint can be a health hazard, so it’s important to inspect any homes with this type of paint by a qualified home inspector.

The home inspector will look for signs of lead poisoning, such as peeling paint or dust contaminated with lead. If lead is found, the inspector will provide a report detailing the extent of the problem and outlining potential solutions.

mold on wall

Mold Issues

Mold issues usually come hand in hand with water damage. In extreme cases, mold removal can cost upwards of $10,000, so any hint of mold should be considered a major red flag in a home inspection. 

More often than not, mold indicates that the building is falling into neglect. It smells rather bad, but it’s unhealthy to inhale harmful types of mold spores. If left unchecked, it can lead to various discernible health conditions ranging from skin irritation to severe respiratory problems. 

Sometimes, mold build-up could come down to a lack of cleaning that you can remedy in an afternoon’s work. However, this typically indicates something more severe if the mold is because of a lack of ventilation, an unrepaired leak, or any other water damage.

Mold remediation often involves removing and discarding the affected materials, such as drywall, wood trim, carpeting, etc.

According to HouseLogic.com, You can expect to spend $200 to $600 for a site visit from a qualified mold inspector, which will take 2 to 5 hours.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, in 2022, the average cost for mold remediation was $2,248. Typical budgets range between $1,107 to $3,396 or $10 to $25 per square foot. Removal projects under 10 square feet cost as little as $50. Larger jobs may cost upwards of $13,000.

Most home inspectors are also certified to perform mold inspections. However, not all are. A home inspector is not required to document environmental concerns like mold under the Standards of Practice.

Specialized training is required to perform a mold inspection. A home inspector who is not trained in mold inspecting should refer any questionable findings to a qualified mold inspector.

Mold can be a serious problem in homes, and it’s often discovered during home inspections. Mold thrives in damp, dark environments, so it’s important to watch for any signs of mold growth. These could include:

  • Musty odors
  • Visible mold growth
  • Water stains on walls or ceilings

If mold is found, the inspector will often recommend testing and further examination, which may involve a contractor opening a wall or removing siding. Often a contractor will need to conduct evasive testing to determine the extent of the problem and outline potential solutions.

exterior siding damage

Failing Exterior Siding

If the home you’re buying has failing exterior siding, you may be required to have it repaired or replaced before closing the house. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

If the home you’re buying has failing exterior siding, you may be required to have it repaired or replaced before closing the house. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget. You may also be required to have a home inspection before closing on the home. This can cost several hundred dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

window condensation

Failing Windows

Old windows can let in cold air, making it difficult to heat the home during colder months. Old windows with single-pane glass are not energy efficient and are often painted shut, which can be a safety hazard if escape is needed during a house fire.

Newer energy-efficient windows can cost $500 or more per window. Specialty windows like large bay windows or picture windows can cost $1500 or more per window.

wet crawl space

Chronic Wet Crawl Spaces

A chronic wet crawl space can cause damage to wood floor structures, floor insulation, foundation settlement, mold in crawl spaces, and much more.

Wet crawl spaces result from poor drainage or high groundwater content if you live in a flood zone. The only sure way to correct a chronic wet crawl space is crawl space encapsulation, which can be $8,000 to $15,000 or more. Some large crawl spaces can cost upward of $30,000.

failing septic system

Failing Septic System or Sewer Line

An old septic system can fail and cause sewage back into the home. If you are buying a home with an old septic system, have it inspected by a qualified septic contractor before closing the deal.

Septic systems are typically not inspected in a home inspection. However, a home inspector will note observed backups in the waste piping. Don’t ignore recommendations for further examination, as this could signify a more serious issue.

Some home inspectors do offer ancillary services like sewer scoping, where a camera is inserted into the waste piping to examine the lines for tree roots and blockages.

A bad septic system can cost upwards of $30,000 to replace, so it’s something you’ll want to avoid if at all possible.

poor water quality

Poor Water Quality from a Shallow Well

If your home is on a shallow well, it’s crucial to have the water quality tested before closing the sale. Shallow wells are more susceptible to contamination than deep wells, so you’ll want to ensure the water is safe to drink.

A water test will typically cost around $300, and it’s worth every penny to ensure you’re not inadvertently buying a home with water that could make you sick. Bacteria and sulfur are some of the main concerns with shallow wells.

Sulfur can cause a “rotten egg” smell in your water, making it unsuitable for drinking. Bacteria can come from animal feces from nearby farms that get into the water supply.

A new deep well can cost $6,000 to $10,000 or more.

old leaky water heater

Outdated Water Heating System

If the home you’re buying has an outdated water heating system, it’s important to have it inspected by a qualified plumber before closing the deal. Old water heaters can develop sediment and rust inside the tank that can cause hard water that can stain plumbing fixtures and become unsafe to consume.

If the water heater is over 20 years old, it’s safe to presume it’s time for a replacement. A new water heater will cost around $2000, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

A tankless water heater can cost upward of $4000, and some feature recirculation systems. In larger homes with multiple water heaters, costs can compound quickly.

asbestos pipe insulation

Asbestos in a Home

If the home you’re buying was built before 1989, it might contain asbestos. Asbestos is a hazardous material that can cause lung cancer; a qualified contractor should remove it.

Asbestos can be found in many building products. Some of the most common include:

  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Floor tiles and glue
  • Insulation
  • Siding
  • Roofing materials
  • and many more

If the home does contain asbestos, it will need to be remediated by a qualified contractor. The cost of asbestos removal can vary widely, but it’s typically several thousand dollars.


Unpermitted Building Additions

If the home you’re buying has not properly permitted additions, it’s important to have them inspected by a qualified contractor before closing the deal. Unpermitted building additions can be a fire hazard and may not be up to local building codes.

If the home has unpermitted building additions, you may be required to have them removed or brought up to code before you can close on the house, which can cost several thousand dollars.

Amateur & Subpar Workmanship of Repairs

If the home you’re buying has had any repairs, it’s important to have them inspected by a qualified contractor before closing the deal. Amateur workmanship can be a fire hazard or lead to structural failure.

If the home has had any repairs done, you may be required to have them redone by a qualified contractor before you can close on the house. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

mice problems

Rodent Infestations

Rodents can carry diseases, and they can cause a lot of damage to a home. If you see any signs of rodent activity, have the seller address the issue before you close on the house.

If the home you’re buying has a rodent infestation, you may be required to have the house treated by a qualified exterminator before closing on the home. This can cost several hundred dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

If the home you’re buying has a rodent infestation, be sure to have the house treated by a qualified exterminator before closing on the home. This can cost several hundred dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

dated bathroom

Dated Kitchens and Bathrooms

If your home has dated bathrooms or kitchens, you may be required to update them before closing on the house. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

Dated bathrooms and kitchens can be a turnoff for potential buyers, so if you’re planning on selling the home in the future, you may want to consider updating them. This can cost several thousand dollars, but it will be worth it when you sell the home.

If your home has dated bathrooms or kitchens, you may be required to update them before closing on the house. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

Dated bathrooms and kitchens can be a turnoff for potential buyers, so if you’re planning on selling the home in the future, you may want to consider updating them. This can cost several thousand dollars, but it will be worth it when you sell the home.

Prior Meth House

If the home you’re buying was a former meth house, you might be required to have it professionally cleaned before you can close on the home. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

If the home you’re buying was a former meth house, you might be required to have it professionally cleaned before you can close on the home. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

You may also be required to have the home tested for meth contamination before closing on the house. This can cost several hundred dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

High Radon Levels

Radon is a chemically inactive gas that is released from the earth. Breathing in hazardous gases is the most frequent exposure to radon. Radon has been discovered in all 50 states at high levels.

However, high radon levels are rare. Every home in mid to high-level radon-prone regions should be tested. Radon causes approximately 20,000 fatalities each year. If a property’s radon gas levels are extremely high, it will require a radon gas mitigation procedure to be implemented.

If your home has high radon levels, you may require a radon mitigation system installed before closing the home. This can cost several thousand dollars, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget.

You may also be required to have the home tested for radon before you can close on the home. This can cost several hundred dollars, so you’ll also need to factor that into your budget.

When to Walk Away After a Home Inspection

It’s important to remember that no house is perfect, including new ones. People build houses, and people aren’t perfect. You can fix all items in home inspection reports.

The information in an inspection report allows you to set the terms you can accept. Most purchase agreements have a home inspection contingency. If you have a set of terms in mind and the seller agrees to those terms, don’t try to squeeze out more concessions and turn sour negotiations between you and the seller.

Remember, the goal is to purchase the house for your family. You’ve come this far. Don’t let greed cause you to lose the home you otherwise love by pushing too hard. Count your victories and move on.

Be Willing to Walk Away

Once you obtain a licensed contractor’s repair bid and have a firm number in mind, it’s time to negotiate. To give you some room to maneuver, ask for slightly more, allowing room for a seller’s counteroffer, and eventually, you should end up close to your desired number.

If seller negotiations aren’t going well, you fear losing the house if you can’t make a deal.

Being an excellent negotiator means taking all the emotion out of your decisions. You may need to be willing to walk away. Frequently, if a seller senses you’re about to walk away from the deal and risk losing the contract, their willingness to meet your request may change.

Remember, local market conditions can play a role as well. If you’re in a multiple offer scenario, sellers are less likely to negotiate home inspection repairs because they have backup offers waiting in the wing.

Things that Fail a Home Inspection FAQs

What are red flags in a home inspection?

Some common things that home inspectors look for are water damage, mold, rot, or structural issues. They also check for electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling systems. Home inspectors pay close attention to a home’s foundation, framing, and roofing. If they see any of these problems, it might indicate that the home has other serious issues.

What are common things that come up in a home inspection?

Some common things that come up in a home inspection are bad GFCIs, roof flashing problems, small plumbing leaks, bad weather stripping, wood rot around doors and windows, etc. These are typically minor repairs that the seller can easily fix before the buyer moves in. However, these problems could lead to more serious issues if left unaddressed.

What are 5 of the most commonly noted home inspection items?

5 of the most commonly noted home inspection items are:

1. GFCIs
2. Roof Flashing
3. Plumbing Leaks
4. Weather Stripping
5. Wood Rot around Doors and Windows

What should you ask the seller to fix?

You should ask the seller to fix any major problems found during the home inspection process. Often you’ll negotiate these repairs and settle on a compromise that results in a repair credit or a price reduction.

What Do You Do If Your Home Fails An Inspection?

There is no pass or fail in a home inspection. You can negotiate with the seller to have them fix the items, ask for a reduction in the purchase price, or walk away from the deal. It’s important to remember that a home inspection is not an automatic deal breaker. You can still purchase the home with some negotiation and compromise.

How long does the buyer have to conduct a home inspection?

A home inspection visually examines a house’s physical structure and systems, from the roof to the foundation. An inspector will look for signs of damage or potential problems and report their findings to the buyer. The buyer usually has around 10 days to inspect after signing a purchase agreement.


A home inspection highlights potential property issues, some easily visible and some not. These assessments sometimes highlight red flags, such as water damage, mold, and faulty electric and plumbing systems.

Whether these red flags are things that fail a home inspection or become a deal breaker for the home buyer largely depends on expectations and the severity of the issue.

The whole idea of a home inspection is to give the home buyer the information they need to decide on the potential life-changing purchase they are about to make. As we all know, no home is perfect, and almost every inspection will return some issue.

However, some problems are more severe than others, which needs to be considered during the sale negotiation process.

To the untrained eye, what might appear as a reasonably innocuous crack in the wall may be something far more sinister, such as severe structural damage or water penetration at the home’s foundation level.

Issues such as this can run up hefty repair bills in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would end up turning your dream move into something of a total disaster.

In addition, taking a home inspector with you is even more essential when you are looking to purchase an older property. Old electrical and plumbing practices have now been rendered obsolete by modern-day standards. 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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