Home Inspection Insight

A deadly home inspection can be a deal breaker. On the other hand, it’s a way for buyers to get out of a negotiation if they’ve changed their mind. Finding one major issue can cause the rest to go down the drain. The home inspection is the final test that you certainly want your home to pass with flying colors. Inspectors will peak around the home for any structural damages or mechanical defects so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. Pick your battles, homeowner.


Today’s market is a seller’s market. There is more demand for homes than homes available to buyers, so sellers ultimately have the upper-hand in negotiation. This gives sellers more leverage and room for error on an inspection than if we were currently in a buyer’s market.

So how do you get ready for someone to look at every small detail of your property? There are many deal breaking issues that can be fixed prior to the inspection. This will keep buyers off your back and keep agents from both parties satisfied.

What to fix

Focus on fixing those issues that will impact a buyer’s health, safety or well-being first and foremost. These three concerns are at the top of a buyer’s list when deciding if an issue is big enough to ditch the sale. Here are the top five suggestions of what sellers should fix:

  1. Uncommon Radon Levels or Asbestos

    When anyone hears the word asbestos they run. The word is associated with health concerns and buyers will be widely aware of the harm associated with them. Radon is also a typical term that will make a buyer turn their head the other way.

  2. Exposed Wires

    Exposed wires are often a result of dad or grandpa pursuing a new career as an amateur electrician. Having these exposed can cause fires and put the homeowner’s life in danger. Old homes may also have wires that are not up to code.

  3. Mold

    The idea of fungus growing in the home someone plans to buy is frightening to them. This is an easy fix that will cause you slight inconvenience but it’s worth calling a mold specialist to fix the problem.

  4. Termites

    Creepy, crawly animals and termites are a huge turn off. Even the sight of termite damage can throw red flags to your buyer.

  5. Leaking roof

    You definitely don’t want the Ohio rainfall to make its way into the home. Water damage is a bad foot for a new homeowner to start off on, so make the transition easy on them and fix it before it seeps into cracks where it’s not welcome.

For those who know their home is much older than most, it might be wise to look into a pre-listing inspection to allow time to fix issues prior to a deal falling through. Keep in mind that inspections are valuable, but they still have a monetary cost associated with them.


Benefit of the doubt

Be gentle with your assumptions and leave room for small errors that are fixable. A good rule of thumb to use is making $100 your threshold in terms of small versus minor fixes. Those fixes that are minor should not be of complaint to the seller unless under a unique circumstance. Here are the small worries the buyer should not spend to much time dwelling on:

  1. Cosmetic fixes

    Do not ask the seller to fix cosmetic issues like painting their deck or power washing the house. Remember that what may be a big turn off in your book is not always as big as in the seller’s mind.

  2. Concrete cracks

    It’s decently common to have a few small cracks in concrete, especially in the basement. Concrete is a porous material so be weary of these cracks, but fix them on your own terms if they are really of concern.

  3. Loose fixtures

    It goes with little explanation that a loose railing or door knob is not the end of the world.

  4. Garages and sheds

    These are obvious objects that will have minor issues associated with them, but remember they are not inside the home. If the garage needs minor work done, don’t stress your seller out about it.

  5. Small yard/landscaping issues

    A missing patch of grass in the yard or a small light broken light fixture is a small deal of work that will take all of a day to begin fixing.

What questions to ask

Trust the guidance of your agent to give you their honest opinion of what you should expect to come back from the inspection. It is their job to be transparent about each item on the inspection list and to bring your expectations down if they are unreasonable. With that being said, ask the inspector the right questions to be informed about what you are getting yourself into. Questions should particularly be geared toward the small issues listed above that you plan to fix yourself.

  1. How can we fix that?

  2. How bad is it- truthfully?

  3. What type of specialist can fix this problem? Do you have any recommendations?

  4. What would you fix if this was your own home? How soon would you fix it?

  5. Can you point out the minor problem area that needs to be fixed? (Ask for clarification)

  6. How do I work this system?

  7. Are there any issues that are red flags in a home?

A word to the wise buyers is to be open to negotiating a better deal and hire your own workers to do the job. This way, you can be confident the job is done well and your mind is free from negative thoughts associated with the major inspection issues of the home. It is important to remember as the buyer that the home you are buying is not brand new and there will be slight quirks that make it unique. Just make sure those quirks aren’t too large to bounce back from or you’ll be in trouble down the road.