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Issues uncovered at the home inspection that you may want to walk away from.

As a home buyer, it's important to protect yourself in the home buying process. That's why you should always have a home inspection contingency included in the contract. A home inspection contingency gives the home buyer the power to negotiate or back out of the contract without losing their earnest money. All homes have defects even newly constructed homes. With over 12 years of experience as a professional home inspector in Texas, I have not found one perfect home. Let's face it all defects are not equal and it's important to know the big-ticket items you may want to walk away from.

First of all, what is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a non-invasive visual inspection of a home. Here in Texas home inspectors are required to be licensed by the Texas real estate commission and are required to meet the minimum standards of practice set by the Texas Real estate commission. In short, a licensed home inspector is required to inspect structural components, plumbing systems, electrical systems, HVAC systems, and appliances. Once the inspection process is complete the buyer will receive a full inspection report either at the end or the next day.
click to see a full list of inspected items

What is a home inspection report?

An average home inspection report will generally consist of information about the condition of the home documenting all the defects found by your qualified home inspector. A detailed report will also have information about equipment like an air conditioner or water heater. If labels are present on these systems the inspector could include the manufacturer and age of the systems. A professional report will also have photos of minor issues to major defects.

What are minor issues?

Minor defects are less concerning and almost always include home maintenance and cosmetic issues. Even minor issues if left unchecked can lead to expensive repairs. Here is a shortlist of potential issues that may be noted in the report. Window and door caulking separating or missing, small cracks in drywall, loose doorknobs, torn window screens just to name a few. Make sure to stay on top of your home's maintenance so they don't lead to crucial repairs.

What are major issues in houses?

It's crucial for a home buyer to identify major defects. The reason is simple these hidden issues will cost the most to repair or replace. I consider any safety concern a major flaw and would recommend to request repair.

Here are some safety risks a home may have.

Missing GFCI's
Single standard Aluminum wiring
Double tapped breakers
Service panel brands that are a known safety hazard
Oversized breakers
low power lines
exposed electrical wires
Trip hazards
Mold issues
Gas leaks
Gas leaks

Other types of defects

Structural issues caused by water damage
Structural defects like foundation issues
Poor drainage around the foundation can lead to foundation repair
Warning Sign of leaks like stains or mold-like stains on ceilings or walls
Roofing materials are in poor condition or at the end of their life span
The air conditioning not cooling properly
Old outdated plumbing supplies like galvanized plumbing
Visible leaks in plumbing
A/C systems using R-22 refrigerant
Old outdated drains

When inspection findings become a deal-breaker

More than likely it won't be one particular item, but maybe a combination of defects exposed. Here are the big-ticket items that can affect the purchase price. Foundation issues that need major repairs can add up quickly. Water intrusion with signs of water damage will require a mold inspection and mold remediation can be very expensive if extensive mold is found in the home. Roofing materials that have outlasted their life span and have major defects. Electrical wiring like single standard aluminum wiring is a safety issue/fire hazard due to the connections becoming loose over time. The best repair method is to replace all the aluminum wiring with copper wiring. There are other methods, but this is the best option the other options use special connections, and you are still left with single standard aluminum wiring and may turn off potential buyers when you go to sell. Galvanized plumbing supplies are present in the home. The galvanized plumbing supplies will need replaced and have the potential to leak at any time. Cast-iron drain lines will definitely be at the end of their expected life span and become your responsibility. HVAC equipment that doesn't function or is at the end of its life span. If the home you are buying ends up having hidden issues like some of these examples it is time to have a serious discussion with your real estate agent about submitting repair requests. If the seller isn't cooperative or you feel like the home is a money pit it may be time to walk away from the deal.

Conclusion

In the end, it comes down to what the buyer is comfortable with. Ask yourself about all the needed repairs in the house is it a fair sale price or does it make sense the seller offers to make all needed repairs or offer a price reduction. Don't fail in love with any home until after the home inspection.

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