Real Estate Buyers: Be Wary if These 3 Issues Come Up During Home Inspection

Posted on: 22 August 2017

You've fallen in love with a home, but your home inspector has come back with a list of issues that need to be addressed. Some problems, such as cosmetic issues with bathroom fixtures, can be safely ignored. Others will need to be fixed immediately after purchasing the home, which means that they are guaranteed to cost you money.

Here are some must-fix problems that can come up during inspection where it's a good idea to ask the sellers to lower the price. Work with your real estate agent throughout this process and be mindful of market conditions; in a seller's market, you may not have the luxury of negotiating the price after the inspection.

Damage to the Foundation

There are a few ways your inspector can spot potential problems with the foundation. Cracks are a worrisome sign, but many older homes have minor cracks in their foundation and suffer no problems from it. A worse sign is if the door frames In the home are no longer properly squared or if the doors do not open and shut easily because they become stuck in the frame. A home's foundation is incredibly expensive to repair; if your inspector tells you the foundation is bad, it's probably time to look for another house.

Improper Wiring in the Home

You need to take proper precautions, especially with older homes. Outlets may be improperly grounded, the fuse box may be using breakers with the wrong amperage rating, or the aluminum wires used in the home may be corroded. All of these problems with the home's electrical system are potential fire hazards. Older homes with improper wiring are particularly dangerous; they are often not meant to handle the amount of load placed on the electrical system by modern homeowners. Running the microwave while watching television and using a desktop computer runs a large amount of current through the system.

Make sure your inspector carefully examines the electrical system for any potential problems. If they're discovered, you will want to fix them before you purchase the home; even if the previous owners never experienced problems, you may have higher electricity demands than they did.

Issues With the Sump Pump or Main Sewer Line

The two big issues here are a malfunctioning sump pump (if the home has a basement that requires one) or a partially blocked sewer line. If the sump pump is not operating correctly, basement flooding becomes a major risk to your home. Not only will everything in your basement suffer water damage, but letting water collect around the walls of your basement because the sump pump is malfunctioning will lead to major damage to the foundation of the home.

Have the sump pump fixed before you purchase the home, and make sure the inspector carefully checks the foundation for any damage it may have incurred while the sump pump was not operating correctly.

A partial obstruction in the sewer line is a bad sign because it will eventually turn into a full obstruction, at which point water will not drain out of your home; your toilets and washing machine will overflow and your home will flood. Have your inspector check that water is correctly draining from the home before you purchase it. You don't want to be surprised later with a hefty repair bill.

When you're re-negotiating the sale because your inspector has found serious problems with the home, work with your real estate agent to determine the best way to proceed. Generally, it's best to get quotes from a contractor and ask for a price reduction so that you can have the repairs performed yourself. If you allow the seller to do the repairs with their own contractor, you'll need to have the home inspected again in order to ensure that the repairs were performed correctly, which can end up costing you money that you did not need to spend.