There were issues uncovered during the home inspection. How do I deal with those?

First off, don’t panic. Every house will have some issues; even new build houses may have issues (even if the builder doesn’t want to admit it). Go over the home inspection report with the inspector at the end of the inspection and get his/her advice. A good home inspector will be able to discuss with you the seriousness of the various issues that were uncovered and perhaps give you some idea of the costs to remediate the issues. Many issues sound scarier that they really are and all issues have some solution; even if some resolutions are costlier than others.

Some of the more common issues uncovered in home inspections include:

  • Mold – there is mold of some sort found in almost every home, even if it is just mildew. Don’t panic at the mention of mold. It is commonly found in attics on the underside of the roof decking and in areas that get wet like bathrooms and kitchens (mostly under the sinks). Mold is relatively easy to deal with and once remediated poses no health danger. Larger mold issues, especially in attic spaces may get more expensive to remediate.
  • Radon – Radon is a naturally occurring bi-product of the deterioration of uranium in the soil. It is a colorless, odorless gas that percolates up through the soil and can collect in a basement. Radon is a carcinogen and is the third leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Basements in Michigan are quite often found to have unsafe levels of Radon. There is an easy and relatively inexpensive fix for Radon and once installed the Radon Remediation System provides a safe home for as long as he system is operating.
  • Gas leaks – the black iron piles that carry and distribute gas in the house may develop leaking at various joints. An inspector will use a gas leak detector to find any leaks and report them. This is a relatively inexpensive thing to fix, but it may require a licensed plumber.
  • Cracks in the basement floors or walls – Even with modern, poured concrete walls and floors, cracks can develop, due to settling. Some modern poured walls are designed with stress relief crack lines planned right in the wall. Your home inspector will examine any cracks and advise you on whether any should concern you.
  • Roof leaks – roof issues are fairly common and usually easy to repair; however, if the entire roof is at end-of-life, this may become a major stumbling block with the seller, due to the cost.
  • Water in the basement – this is also relatively common and usually caused during periods of rain by poor water management around the foundation. Usually, better gutter downspout extensions or perhaps re-grading the area around the foundation can deal with this issue; however, if the issue is caused by a high water table it may require a better sump pump system than the house currently has.
  • HVAC issues – Sometimes the inspector will uncover issues such as a cracked heat exchanger in the force air furnace system, which can allow carbon monoxide to get into the ductwork.; or, perhaps  furnace/boiler heating elements that are not properly working. Any health related issues need to be dealt with immediately. Some burner issues may just require a good cleaning, but others may indicate that the unit needs to be replaced. Discuss this with the inspector and get a professional HVAC person’s opinion if needed.
  •  Other issues to look for might include a leaking hot water heater, a stove with burners that don’t work, a rusty or noisy air conditioner condenser unit, non-functioning space heaters, non-functioning garage door safety equipment, wood rot around windows and under eve, infestations of carpenter ants or termites and more. This is why a good home inspection is so important.

Meet with your Realtor® and discuss what to do about any issues that are reported in the home inspection report. There are very few issues that cannot be resolved and allow you to move ahead with the purchase; however, any request that you make will cost the home owner/Sellers money and they may be unable or unwilling to spend to remediate the issues or make the repairs.

Don’t nickel and dime the homeowner over minor issues. Focus on the bigger issues that really concern you for your health and safety or which are things that are too big for you to take on right after you move in (like if the place needs a new roof). Here’s a good article on things that the buyer should not ask for out of the home inspection.

The key will be how the Seller reacts to your requests to fix the issues. You should decide which issues you can deal with later and which ones are “show-stoppers” for you, unless they are fixed by the Sellers. You may have to walk away from this deal and you will not get back the money that you spent to have the home inspected. That was money well spent to protect you from nasty surprises later.

The Seller may offer to get bids on the work and may be willing to reduce the purchase price by all or part of the cost of the repairs. You have to decide whether the repairs are something that you want to deal with after you close on the house or something that you absolutely need the Seller to do before you close.

The Seller may be too busy getting ready to move to have the time to go out for bids and manage the repair process. He may just offer some reasonable amount of money off the purchase price. It’s your call on whether you want to force the issue of getting the repairs done before the closing. If you can live with closing and moving in and then getting the work done, this may be the best resolution of the issues.

Norm Werner is a Realtor® working for Real Estate One in Milford, Michigan. Norms helps people buy and sell houses in Southeastern Michigan, in Oakland, Livingston and Macomb Counties You can contact Norm about finding a new home or about getting a Market Analysis for your current home by texting or calling him at 248-763-2497 or click here to go to his web site and fill out Help Form for buyers and sellers.

To see all of the post that have been made to this series of posts go to the post series index.

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash