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Posted on Monday, March 14, 2022 in Mortgage Lending

4 of the Worse Things to Hear After a Home Inspection

Having a thorough, professional inspection performed before buying a house is essential. A home inspection can help a homebuyer avoid a bad real estate deal. They can:

  • Uncover hidden structural problems.
  • Give you negotiation leverage.
  • Identify potentially expensive repairs.
  • Discover illegalities (e.g. illegal additions, electrical code violations).
  • Provide you with peace of mind knowing the home you are buying has no hidden issues.

It can be a creepy job

Retired home inspector Bill Chase has years of experience uncovering major problems, some of which ultimately became deal breakers for unsuspecting homebuyers.

Chase said, “There are so many unusual things I’ve discovered during my 25-year career as a home inspector. Some of the oddest were an underground survival bunker, garages that sat on two properties, barrels of hazardous materials, a nest of shredded clothing in a closet with a live racoon family, bat infestation, a pet cemetery, backed-up sewers, and even some squatters.”

Bill said, “It can be a creepy job crawling under a house, not to mention all the gross things that you see when people have neglected their homes and yards.” He went onto say there are some items more commonly found that can be serious: black mold, vermin, drainage problems, and sewer issues.  

Black Mold

1. Black Mold

When black mold is present in a home, it’s almost always indicative of a serious issue. The property may have been impacted by a flood. Repairs were made, but they did not fully address the mold. It could have also been caused by a prior home plumbing problem or leaky roof.  Getting rid of black mold and making sure it doesn’t come back involves expensive remediation efforts. Not addressed, it is a major health and safety issue.


2. Pests and Vermin

There is a big difference between a few mice, and having a home infested with termites, cockroaches, or even snakes. If you have mice, you can hire an exterminator to set out some traps. But getting rid of termites in the wood of your home or snakes crawling up from the dirt basement into your walls is another matter.

Wet basement

3. Poor Drainage and Grading Around the Home

Rainwater that drains close to the house or runs into the basement is a big problem. It causes foundation stability issues, wall cracking, decay, and mold. Evidence of an unstable foundation can typically be found throughout the home, from uneven floors, tile floor breakage, doors and cabinets that won’t shut, and cracks in the walls and ceilings. The entire integrity of the home could be at risk. Solving the landscape problem is going to be expensive enough, but if you have to replace or repair a foundation, and solve all the issues inside your home, it could be a good reason to walk away for the deal.

sewer pipe

4. Sewer and Water 

Plumbing issues could be a huge expense, as sewer and water systems are most often located in spots difficult to access —places like behind walls, down a well, in the pipes underground connecting the home to the city’s water and sewer system, or to a septic system. Signs of a problem include leaks, water stains, rusty water, discoloration or flaking in exposed pipes, and clogged drains or pipes. 

How to handle a bad home inspection report

If you receive a bad home inspection report, remember it’s not the end of the world. This house is one fish in a pond of better fish. Trust your real estate professional and lender for guidance.

Determine what fixes are mandatory to obtain your loan, how much it would cost to correctly fix the problem, what repairs should be made by the seller or credit negotiated on the sale price, or if it's a better idea to abandon the deal and not take on someone else’s headaches. 

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