7 Major Home Inspection Issues {2023}

March 14th, 2023

Buying | Realtors®
7 Major Home Inspection Issues {2023}

Major Home Inspection Issues and How to Handle Repairs 

If your home inspection raises any of these 7 significant issues, it could be time to negotiate some mandatory fixes with the seller before purchasing the home. After a home inspection, problems are going to arise. If you are a first-time home buyer try not to freak out because this is why you hired a home inspector, to find the issues with the home! This allows the buyers to negotiate some reasonable requests before purchasing the home. Some recommendations will be mandatory fixes, or the buyer will choose to find another home.

Major Home Inspection Issues, repairs and common questions answered

If any of these significant home inspection issues come back on your home inspection report, you'll want to hire experts to come in and evaluate the damage. There are common things that will show up on home inspection reports, and this will stem from normal wear and tear. What you don't want showing up on your inspection report are these items below because they can cost you tens of thousands, especially if you are buying a home in bad condition

The process in North Carolina is slightly different than in some other states. Consumers interested in purchasing a home are often allowed to have a home inspection performed to ensure they are making a sound investment.

A deposit, also known as a due diligence fee, is given to the sellers in exchange for taking the home off the market for some time and making it available to perform any tests or inspections that the buyer might want or that the property might warrant. This is a step that happens after you go under contract and sometimes can happen before. At the end of this inspection period, repairs, financial concessions, or other negotiations may occur before entering the final phase of the contract. Depending on what has been discovered upon inspection, it may sometimes make sense for a buyer to walk away from the home purchase.

Structural Issues

1. Structural issues can generally be seen in the attic or crawlspace. The structural elements of a home are the foundation, crawl space, slab or basement, framing, roof, and walls. Sometimes during construction or renovation, rafters, trusses, or joists can be improperly cut or improperly shored up. Natural disasters, poor construction, drainage, and settling can also cause structural issues. In these instances, it is best to consult with a structural engineer to ensure that the home is structurally sound and that an engineer’s seal can be obtained for resale.

If structural repairs to a home are needed, they can range in cost from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the severity and area to be repaired. Severe structural issues are rare but worth checking for since they can be financially devastating. I've had clients in the past who have needed structural issues repaired and tens of thousands of dollars were negotiated off the home's final price.


2. Roof issues can include a roof at the end of its life, shingles that have loosened or are broken, exposed nail heads, incorrect flashing, dry-rotted rubber boots around the chimney, and vent pipes, to name a few. Some roof companies offer 30-year warranties on their roofs, so it can be helpful to ask the sellers if the company that put the top on can come out to make the repairs for the labor cost.

A roof that shows signs of deferred maintenance can also signal water damage to the sheathing, rafters, and other wood structural elements in the attic area. Minor roofing issues can generally be quickly dealt with by the buyer after closing. Still, if severe roof issues are noted on inspection, it may be worthwhile to have a roofer quote the repairs and attempt to negotiate credits.


3. Plumbing issues can span in severity from a leaking faucet to the whole house plumbing system needing repair or replacement. Leaks that have been active for some time can lead to additional problems, such as damage to flooring, subfloor rot, and mold. Most inspectors will also check for Polybutylene pipes. Polybutylene pipes were standard in construction in the '80s and '90s but, in 1995, were banned from being used due to significant leaking risk. Most have been replaced or retrofitted with new fittings, generally an acceptable mitigation method. If the home inspection notes considerable plumbing problems, it may be time for a professional to provide their opinion.

The pipes themselves are the hardest to inspect when it comes to plumbing issues since they are likely under the home. You'll want to ask your inspector to pay special attention to the plumbing as they are likely going under the house for other reasons and will only report back on the type of plumbing. If anything appears suspicious, it's worth hiring plumbing specialists to review.

Septic tanks and wells are an entirely separate issue, and you will want to ensure you have those inspected if the home has either of those items!


4. Electrical issues can be very hazardous, so it may be wise to consult with a licensed electrician on anything that has been noted on an inspection report. Older homes, especially those constructed in the 70's or older, can have faulty, outdated, or out-of-code wiring and need a whole-house update. Loose outlets and flickering lights are cause for concern, and faulty wiring can pose a significant danger to home occupants.

Another common electrical issue on inspections is a home not having GCFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets installed in areas with water. This includes bathrooms and kitchens. GCFI outlets turn off when wet and are an electrocution safety precaution. Problems at the service panel or box are also common.

One of the things I like least about electrical issues found during a home inspection is that you don't know the entire story. The issue could be minor, or the issue could be life-threatening. Electrical issues are nothing to mess with, so be sure to have an electrician come in and inspect the electrical issues in question!

Heating and Cooling System / HVAC

Heating and cooling system issues are standard and can be systems not running as efficiently as they should, ductwork incorrectly installed or not properly sealed, or units at the end of their lifespan. Generally, heating and cooling units have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years, depending on routine service, maintenance, and other care. An HVAC technician can perform a tune-up to newer systems or can help you price out all new systems. They can also help seal ductwork, change air filters, and assess efficiency issues. Improperly sealed ductwork can intake dust and debris in the crawlspace or attic, leading to allergies in the home, sediment in filters, and energy loss.

If you have issues with the HVAC or if it's reaching its average life expectancy, you can work with the seller to replace the unit, which will likely run you $4,000 at the minimum, depending on the team you purchase.

Water Damage

Water damage is a severe issue as it can affect all parts of the home and if left unchecked, can cause significant repairs to be needed. Water damage can come from roofing problems, plumbing leaks, or poor exterior drainage leading to intrusion.

Water can cause structural integrity issues, wood rot, and mold growth and can create an environment that allows termites to thrive. If moisture, standing water, or dripping is seen in the crawlspace, it may be advantageous to have a professional specializing in restoring and remediating water damage to assess and remedy the cause and quote the cost of the work.

Water damage can be the most expensive of all the major issues a home inspection may encounter because it can cause so much damage. If you leave for the weekend and come home to a pipe burst, you will most likely be looking at tens of thousands in damages and restoration.


Termite Damage can be extensive and expensive, depending on how long the pests have been active. When you hire your home inspector, you should ensure you also have the home checked for termites because these pests can cause severe problems with the house.

If the home is plagued by termites, it is best to have it under a termite bond with a local pest company that provides routine and scheduled treatments throughout the year. Conditions that lead to termites taking up residence are moisture and wood elements in contact with the ground. Visual signs of termites can be mud tubes in the crawlspace or, in severe instances, the termites themselves. 

Since termites eat wooden structures, they can access, treatment and replace the affected parts can range in severity and cost. The average price of remediation if they’ve done damage is $3,000. Most termite bonds or treatments cost a few hundred dollars.

Common Home Inspection Questions Answered

In some instances, repairs may be mandated by the lender for the loan to close. If this is the case, then the repairs must be done before closing. Two loan types that have a high lender risk (high loan-to-value ratio) are FHA and VA loans. These two loan types, therefore, have more stringent inspection requirements.

FHA Loan Inspection Requirements include extra attention to detail regarding the homeowner's or occupant's safety and health. The FHA appraiser or inspector will look for potential safety hazards while conducting the appraisal, such as structural damage, moisture, termites, adequate heating, and the ability of emergency services to access the property if need be.

VA Loan Inspection Requirements include attention to safety hazards as well.  The home must have safe access by pedestrians or vehicles, be free from encroachments (neighbor or seller building over property lines), have good drainage and not be in a flood zone, free from wood decay or rot, have no signs of moisture, free from or treated for termites. If the home has lead paint, then it must have been acceptably mitigated.

After reviewing the inspection report and consulting with any additional specialists or industry professionals, it is time to inform the sellers of any concerns you may have moving forward. Per the Offer to Purchase, you are buying the home in an “as-is state” however, most sellers will work with buyers on making reasonable repairs or assisting with the financial burden of issues discovered. 

Reasonable request examples after the inspection period would be asking the homeowners to make some repairs, requesting that they provide financial concessions to help pay for a more expensive repair, and asking for a price reduction in the number of repair costs. Every home is different, and every seller is other, so it is best to consult with your real estate agent on the best course of action so everyone can feel comfortable moving forward.

Home inspections are vital in ensuring you make a good investment in your home purchase. In the best cases, you are researching to plan for what minor repairs or maintenance will be needed once you own the home. In the worst cases, you’ve found severe and costly issues and can decide to renegotiate the price or repairs or walk away from the purchase and begin the home search again.

What is the cost of a home inspection?

A reputable local and licensed home inspector should perform the home inspection. Your real estate agent can often direct you to trustworthy and thorough home inspectors. Most inspectors work from a top-to-bottom approach and begin the inspection with the roofing, head to the home's interior, and finish the inspection with the crawlspace, basement, or slab.

A home inspection typically takes two to three hours but also depends on the size, condition, and age of the home. The cost of home inspections also depends on the size and age of the home but generally ranges between $375 - $475. The buyer is responsible for paying for the home inspection unless the seller conducts a home inspection before selling.

Other inspections or tests that home inspection companies generally offer are radon testing (average around $150), termite inspection (just under $100), septic (around $400), or well inspections (range between $100 - $200) if applicable. Since mitigating any issues related to these tests can be costly, it is generally a good idea for homebuyers to consider having them checked out. It may sometimes be helpful to have specialists quote the work needed or provide further professional insight on any issues that arise.

Is a Home Inspection Required?

A home inspection is not a requirement for buying a home though it is strongly recommended. A home is a significant investment, and one of the best ways to protect your investment is a home inspection that gives you a detailed report on the home's condition. Knowing the age of some of the big-ticket items mentioned above will go a long way in protecting and preserving your investment. 

When moving into a new home, you want peace of mind that you're not walking into major home repairs that could cost tens of thousands of dollars. A home inspection is one of the best ways to ensure this won't happen to you.

Final Thoughts on Major Home Inspection Issues

Some issues that may come up on the inspection report are structural or foundation issues, roof issues, plumbing issues, electrical issues, heating/cooling system defects, water damage, and termite issues. It is essential to read through the inspection report in detail to make sure you don’t miss anything of importance to you. Your home inspector can help explain the action items or things they recommend fixing, and your real estate agent can highlight the big-picture items that you might want to ask the sellers to remedy in some way.

Often repairing these significant issues can go towards your homeownership tax breaks. It's always a great idea to communicate with your home inspector and any home inspection specialists you work with throughout the process to be sure the home you're purchasing is a sound investment, one you can be comfortable calling home.

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! Nice to 'meet' you and thanks for visiting our Raleigh Real Estate Blog! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I'm a REALTOR® in Raleigh-Durham, NC, the owner of Raleigh Realty. I work alongside some of the best Realtors in Raleigh. You can find more of my real estate content on Forbes, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and more. Realtor Magazine named me a top 30 under 30 Realtor in the country (it was a long time ago haha). Any way, that's enough about me. I'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram or connect with our team at Raleigh Realty. Looking forward to connecting!