9 Property Issues that Can End a Transaction

Home inspection is part of the process of buying or selling a home. Some sellers will opt to have an inspection before listing their home, giving them extra time to either fix or disclose any issues. Others wait until the buyers schedule an inspection, and wait anxiously to learn what the professional finds.

The job of a home inspector is to do a thorough visual examination of the house, looking for any health or safety issues. Keep in mind, inspectors cannot see everything (i.e., behind walls) but are trained to look for warning signs that may lead to an issue.

Often times, the items that come up during a home inspection are simple maintenance issues and can be fixed or paid for easily, frequently by the buyer after they move in. There are times, however, that a home inspection can reveal a more significant issue that is worth looking into.

Our team recently had a session with Tiger Inspection, where we learned about the property conditions that most often lead to disputes. Some of these can be determined during the home inspection, while others require additional tests to assess the damage.

1. Mold

Not all mold is harmful. Some mold builds up simply due to poor housekeeping, while other types of mold can cause numerous health issues for anyone exposed to it. Testing for mold is not included in a regular home inspection, but the inspector looks for warning signs and might recommend a separate test to determine if hazardous mold is present.

2. Structural Defects

Structural defects can occur in older homes or homes built with poor construction. Inspectors can point out repairs and structural supports that look suspicious.

3. Insects or Vermin

Termites, powderpost beetles, and carpenter bees can cause severe wood and structural damage if left untreated. Each pest leaves clues to their existence, but you usually will not know how bad the damage is until you open up walls or siding.

4. Sewer or Septic

A complete septic inspection is separate from the home inspection. Warning signs the sewer or septic is in trouble include odor in the yard and difficulty draining water.

5. Plumbing Issues

Issues with plumbing can be hidden for a long time, as you don’t have regular access to all the pipes and drains. Signs of a significant problem could be loose or missing floor tiles, loose toilet, odor when water is running, or leaking drain traps.

6. Roof

Curling or missing shingles and stained ceilings can point to issues with the roof. A new roof is a costly expense, so you will want to factor in how many years the roof.

7. Environmental Issues

Environmental issues can be hard to detect and hazardous to your health. Radon, asbestos, and lead are examples of environmental problems and usually require additional testing.


Heating and cooling issues are most often problems with an old furnace. While getting a new furnace is a simple fix, it can be costly and is something to take into consideration.

9. Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are another problem that can be hard to detect, as wiring is behind walls. Old electrical systems may no longer be up to code, and the cost of tearing down walls to replace the electrical system adds up quickly.

If you have a home inspection and come across a significant health or safety concern, take the time to discuss with your Realtor and determine your next steps. Do you want to pay for more testing, negotiate, or walk away from the deal? A home inspection contingency will allow you to back out of the contract without repercussions, but these issues can often be negotiated and either fixed or paid for by the seller.


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