The average cost of a home inspection is generally only a few hundred dollars. But buying a home without a thorough inspection can cost you thousands.
A professional home inspection uncovers problems that are both expensive to repair and hazardous to our health.
During an inspection, homebuyers should be on the lookout for important home inspection red flags. These signs are a reason to press pause in the buying process and reevaluate the home.
What are some home inspection concerns to look out for? Let’s explore.
1. Excessive Water Damage
Excessive water damage wreaks havoc on homes. Discovering water damage during an inspection is a major red flag and needs to be addressed. In some cases, the water damage may be too much to handle.
Water damage comes in a variety of forms and is caused by different factors. Some forms of water damage require quick fixes, while others are more extensive (and expensive).
If a home inspector locates water damage in your potential new house, determine the cause of the problem and get an estimate on how much repairs will cost.
Leaks and Plumbing Problems
Home inspectors locate leaks by looking for mold, mildew, and cracks around pipes. They will look for spots on the ceiling or disruptions to wall paint.
Once a leak is detected, it shouldn’t be too costly to repair. However, the problem with leaks is they can go unnoticed for months at a time.
If the previous homeowner ignored a leak, the water may have damaged the home’s structures. Water leaks can also lead to mold, which is another home concern.
As a new homebuyer, you will want to make sure the leak and any water damages caused by the leak are repaired before the house is in your name.
Poor Outdoor Drainage
Ideally, a home’s soil should drop two to three inches every 10 feet away from the foundation. The natural curve will keep water far away from your home and prevent flooding. However, not every home has a slope that works in its favor.
If the home is located on a flat property, it needs an efficient drainage system. If a home inspector identifies watermarks on the walls or other signs of frequent water damage, that could mean the home does not have sufficient drain systems.
2. Mold and Mildew
Home inspection results will include any mold or mildew findings. The inspector will also identify reasons for the fungi, such as significant water damage or excessive moisture in specific areas of the home.
Mold or mildew is a red flag for new homeowners. The report may suggest the mold growth poses an issue to indoor air quality. In that case, the buyers must arrange for an official mold inspector to examine the home.
In severe cases, a home inspector may determine the mold growth is hazardous, and therefore, the house is unsafe.
Small amounts of mold can be fixed by adding extra insulation, lining, or dehumidifiers to problem areas.
However, homeowners should keep in mind that mold can be difficult to permanently eliminate. Buying a home prone to mold can lead to complications down the road, especially for those with asthma or other respiratory problems.
3. Pest Infestations
A pest infestation is an example of when not to buy a home.
Not only are rodents and insects frustrating to see scurrying around, but they can create severe structural and health problems for those living in the home.
Rodents, such as mice and rats, carry harmful diseases. They spread unhealthy bacteria through their droppings. They are very unsanitary and can transmit diseases such as:
- Rat-bite fever
- Lassa fever
- Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
In addition to spreading illnesses, rodents also cause fires. They chew through electrical wiring and ventilation systems. They expose wires and cause overheating that leads to fires.
That being said, finding signs of a rat or mice infestation during a home inspection is a major red flag.
If an inspector locates termites or termite damage, reconsider purchasing the home.
Termites eat wood. Large infestations deteriorate the structural foundation of a home, especially around windows and doors.
Severe infestations can make a home unsafe. Eliminating termites and repairing the damages the pests caused can cost thousands of dollars.
4. Outdated Wiring
There’s nothing wrong with purchasing an older home for its personality and historic charm. However, electrical wiring needs to be up-to-date.
Homes built prior to the 1960s usually feature knob and tube wiring. These systems are no longer used because they are prone to fires and other safety concerns.
Some homes may have outdated wiring that isn’t up to code. This is a major red flag during an inspection. Whoever owns the home is responsible for keeping all electrical systems up to standard and will need to pay for the entire house to be updated.
Before the 1980s, asbestos was a material commonly used in home insulation products. Today, asbestos is a homeowner’s nightmare as we now know it’s harmful to our health. However, many older homes may have asbestos, which a home inspector can find.
If an inspector detects asbestos in your potential new home, it needs to be fixed immediately. If not, look for a different house.
Asbestos causes several types of diseases, including mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that forms in the lungs, abdomen, and heart. It causes shortness of breath and chest pain. After diagnosis, people with mesothelioma are expected to only survive up to 12 months.
If there are any signs of asbestos in your potential new home, consider it a severe red flag.
Checking for Home Inspection Red Flags
There is a long list of home inspection issues to be wary of, but certain home inspection red flags can make you reconsider purchasing the home of your dreams.
Working with a qualified and well-trained home inspector can save you from purchasing a home with a long list of problems.
Contact our team to learn more about our fast, easy, and painless home inspections. We’re committed to ensuring your home is safe and move-in ready.