8 Common Home Inspection Fails

June 12, 2023

, , , ,

If you have been thinking of buying a house in 2023’s very crazy real estate market, you probably know that many buyers are waiving inspections.  But buying a house is serious business – and it is the largest financial decision that most buyers make in their lifetime!  I have worked with buyers who have had a contract accepted on the home of their dreams because it looked beautiful and had everything they wanted – new floors, new paints, renovated kitchen & baths – only to have those dreams dashed once the home inspection was done!

Having worked with hundreds of buyers over the years, there are common repair issues that tend to come up on home inspection reports.  Not every house has all of these, but each of these home inspection fails could be costly repairs to make!  So, even if you are buying a home as is and not having the seller do repairs, you really do want to know what is going on in the home and what you are going to have to deal with after closing.

Here are the 8 most common home inspection fails I have seen over the years!


This could include things like missing shingles, soft spots in the roof, roof leaks, damaged flashing, clogged downspouts, tree damage!  If you have to replace the roof, it could be very expensive, especially if the roof you have is a slate roof or a grand manor roof!


This would be your HVAC system.  Repair issues I have seen noted here include things like improper installation, inadequate maintenance, aged components, dirty filters, the thermostat not properly functioning.  There could be pilot light problems if you have a gas furnace.  Dirty evaporator or condenser coils are a problem.  Uneven temperature distribution as well as the unit just blowing air (either hot or cold) are all problems that can be found on home inspections.


The Richmond area has a lot of older homes and I have seen a lot of these homes with updated electric, but there is old knob and tube wiring in the attic.  Other issues I have seen come up include reverse polarity, double tapped breakers, ungrounded receptacles, exposed wiring as well as exposed light bulbs in a closet (these really need to be encased).  I have seen outdoor outlets that have the wrong kind of covering on them.  I have seen electric panels that have unfilled openings in them.  I have seen GFCI outlets that are not properly working.


The attic is at the top of the house and if it is not properly ventilated and insulated it can cause a lot of problems.  It can lead to moisture buildup and mold, the metal components on the roof such as nails, plumbing straps, venting straps can become rusted.  The roof decking can become spongy or sagging.  And, it can cause the air conditioning system to have a shortened lifespan, as it now has to work harder to make the house stay cool!


Normally, inspectors don’t look at the landscaping in the yard – unless it has an impact on the house and it’s functioning!  If water doesn’t properly run off away from the house, it can lead to a lot of problems:  you can have pooling water around the foundation which can lead to decay, mold and structural issues.  Gutters and downspouts can help take are of this problem – but if they are clogged and full of leaves and debris, or they are improperly installed, this can lead to issues.  Even the soil can sometimes be a problem if it is not allowing the water to run off properly.


Inspectors will look for plumbing issues on the home inspection.  They could find low water pressure throughout, or perhaps the drains are draining too slowly.  There could be leaks in the kitchen or bathroom.  There could even be plumbing pipes in the crawl space or basement that are leaking.


Inspectors will look to see if there is evidence of mold or fungal growth.  Not all mold is bad, but the inspector is not going to be the one to determine if the mold seen in a house is the bad mold or not.  Mold needs 3 things to survive and grow:  the ideal temperature (usually warmth), a source of food and moisture,  so the key to taking care of mold is moisture control.  There are some things that can be done to take care of the mold:  clean gutters & extend the downspouts, correct any grading issues, make sure the home is properly ventilated (including the basement and crawl space areas), run a fan to promote air flow and replace the air filters in the HVAC system on a regular basis!


In the Richmond area, we appear to be a haven for wood destroying insects such as termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants and powder post beetles!

Home inspections are highly recommended for buyers!  If you are buying a house, you want to at least know what repairs you have to immediately take care of after closing and how much that will generally cost you.  Or, if the repairs are too costly, you want to be able to either negotiate repairs, or you want to have the ability to terminate the contract.  

And, for sellers, I also recommend a pre-listing home inspection.  This allows you to take care of any major problems before putting the house on the market.  It allows you to make the report and the repair receipts available to the buyer of your house.  And it allows you to ask top dollar for your home, without having to worry about whether or not the deal will fall through at the last minute.

If you are thinking of buying a house and have questions about home inspections, or if you are thinking of selling your home, feel free to let me know.  I am happy to help!