The Biggest Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid

Kyle Hiscock

Kyle Hiscock | Greater Rochester NY Real Estate | Pittsford NY Realtor at RE/MAX Realty Group

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What to Know About The Home Inspection Process

The Biggest Home Inspection Issues To Avoid
The Biggest Home Inspection Issues To Avoid

Are you going to be having your first home inspection? When you are buying a home, the inspection can uncover many problems. This can be particularly concerning if you are a first-time buyer, but you shouldn’t worry. This is what you are hiring the inspector to do.

Learning the home inspection problems before you close on the property gives you an opportunity. Home inspections are one of the most vital parts of buying a house.

In hot real estate markets some buyers are skipping out on them in order to win the bid but that is never wise. Waiving an inspection puts you in a vulnerable position of taking on each and every issue with a property, some of which you undoubtedly don’t know about.

Any home inspection issues can be used to go back to the seller and negotiate fixes. Some of the faults found by the home inspector will be serious and will need to be repaired by the seller. If the seller disagrees, then you may need to continue looking for a house.

It is easy to make home inspection mistakes if you are new to the process or haven’t moved in a long time. But wrong decisions here could cost you a lot.

So that you avoid falling into the trap of these all too common mistakes, we offer you a home inspection checklist. These are the things you really need to pay careful attention to when going through the home inspection process. The importance of getting a home inspection for the issues we’re going to discuss is paramount.

By understanding what to look out for, you’ll avoid some of the more significant home inspection mistakes.

Structural Elements

If there are any major structural problems with the home, you’ll want to make sure they are properly investigated. Something wrong with the house structure can lead to expensive repair bills that can go into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Issues with the foundations, framing, walls, roof, or basement can be significant. These problems can occur thanks to bad construction work, settling, or insufficient drainage.  Whatever the reasons, you’ll want them checked out by a structural engineer. This could lead to renegotiating the purchase price to factor in the expense of repairing any discovered structural damage.

The Roof

If the roof hasn’t been replaced in many decades, it can lead to water damage throughout the property. If the inspection report finds problems with the roof that are minor, this is terribly unusual and can be dealt with after purchase.

What you should be concerned about are the more severe problems that could include damage to the roof structure. If the roof is fairly new, there could still be a warranty, so check with the seller. If this isn’t the case, you could need a quote from a roofing company.

A loose shingle here or there is not the end of the world.

Electrical Systems

A home is more likely to have electrical problems if it is older. You might find that the wiring is more likely to be faulty in old homes and not up to code. This could mean that the entire house needs to be rewired, something that will be expensive to fix. For example, if the home is an antique, it could have what’s called knob and tube wiring. Knob and tube is an inferior wiring system that is a known safety hazard when in poor shape.

In fact, there are some lenders and home insurance companies that do not want to be involved with homes that have this old-style wiring.

Ignoring problems with the wiring of a home isn’t an option. It can be hazardous to anyone living in the property. More minor electrical issues include not having ground fault circuit interrupter outlets in rooms with access to water and double-tapped breakers in the electrical panel.

Both of these issues are easily correctable.

Plumbing Systems

While a leaking faucet isn’t going to be much of a concern or something you will want to negotiate with the seller, there can be bigger issues. Evidence of leaking pipes could mean the plumbing system of the house needs to be replaced.

It was common to use Polybutylene pipes in the 1980s, and some homes from that era won’t have had their pipework replaced. These types of pipework were prone to leaking and were banned from use in the 1990s.

If there is significant evidence of leaks, you might want to get a professional plumber in to check the system.

Leaks From The Outside

One of the worst problems that come from home inspections is the discovery of water issues. If problems have been found with the roof or foundation of the home, water damage can be one of the home inspection mistakes that is more serious than it first appears.

A persistent water leak can do damage to the structural integrity of the home. This can cause rotting wood and mold that create the perfect conditions for some types of pests.

If your home inspector finds some evidence of water damage, it can be advisable to get a specialist to check the extent of damage and the cost of repairs. Hidden water damage can be a high cost to remedy. It would be best if you never let a seller’s problem become yours.

Termite Damage

Checking for termites can often be an extra cost on top of the basic home inspection, but it could be valuable. If the home is located in an area that suffers from termites, this is something you will need.

A home that has an infestation of termites is gradually being eaten away by these pests. This will result in the requirement to treat the affected parts of the home and mean replacing part of the structure.

The cost for this work could come to a few thousand dollars or more, so it is likely something that you will want to bring up with the seller.


Problems with the heating and cooling systems of the home can lead to expensive replacement costs. If you need to replace the HVAC unit, you could be looking at a bill of more than $6,000. If the unit is near the end of its life or hasn’t been very well maintained, this could be something you’ll need to negotiate with the seller.

There can still be problems with heating and cooling systems even if the unit is relatively new. Work could be needed to make sure ductwork is properly sealed, or the filters might need to be replaced. The system could benefit from a tune-up from a technician to sort out these fairly minor home inspection problems.

These aren’t the only considerations for a home inspection but they are some of the most significant.

Other Things You Need to Know About Home Inspection Issues

Watch Out For Significant Home Inspection Issues
Watch Out For Significant Home Inspection Issues

Having a home inspection might be mandatory for some lenders or types of mortgages, like VA and FHA loans. But even if this isn’t a requirement, a home inspection will ensure you make a wise choice in your purchase and reveal minor issues that you will want to address after closing.

If there are significant problems found, it gives you the option of renegotiating with the seller or walking away from the deal.

A home inspection can cost between $300 and $900, though this will depend on the home’s size and location. There can be other costs on top of this, like a termite check or radon testing.

Even if the home you are looking to buy is fairly new, you can expect to find some problems in the inspector’s report. However, not everything in the report will be something that you need to address with the seller.

If you are unsure of what is essential and what isn’t to negotiate, you can check with your real estate agent. They will have the experience to know what needs to be negotiated with the seller and what doesn’t.

Of course, your home inspector’s opinion is also important, and if you have any concerns or need more information, they can help. This should ensure that your new home is a purchase you don’t later regret.

Final Thoughts on Home Inspections

A home inspection isn’t just about finding problems but a fantastic opportunity to learn about exactly what you’re buying. An exceptional home inspector will walk you through major systems’ operations and give you pointers on maintenance.

If you have never owned a home before, you’re almost guaranteed to learn quite a bit. Make sure you attend the inspection so you can learn about your most significant investment.

About the author: The above article on The Biggest Home Inspection Mistakes to Avoid was written by Bill Gassett. Bill has been working in the real estate industry for the past thirty-three years. He works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton Massachusetts. Bill loves providing trustworthy information to buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make the best possible decisions. His writing has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester,, Credit Sesame, and others.

About Rochester’s Real Estate Blog: Rochester’s Real Estate Blog is owned and operated by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group.

Since being launched in 2013, Kyle has published more than 150 quality, in-depth, and unique real estate related articles on the Rochester Real Estate Blog pertaining to topics varying from home selling to mortgages and everything in between!  In addition to quality real estate related content, there are also many quality articles pertaining to the Greater Rochester NY area.

The Rochester Real Estate Blog has been recognized by many reputable websites as one of the best real estate blogs to visit and follow!  In addition to being recognized as one of the best real estate blogs, Kyle has been recognized as one of the top Realtors on social media by several organizations and websites.

With over 40 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

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