It can be heartbreaking when a home inspection finds major flaws in your dream home. While it’s typical to find minor issues, there are some violations that should warn you to proceed with caution or walk away from the house completely.
Before your next home inspection, keep these red flags in mind.
- Asbestos – Many homes built before July 1989 contain this hazardous material if the previous owners haven’t already had it removed. If asbestos is still present, it must be removed and properly disposed of by a professional. If that’s the case, this costly job should be factored in before making the decision to bid on the house.
- Electrical or plumbing problems – Many plumbing and electrical problems are small and inexpensive to fix, but some people try to save money by doing projects themselves or by hiring an amateur. If the previous homeowners cut corners with wiring or plumbing, consider repair costs when deciding whether to bid on the house.
- Foundation issues – Not all small cracks are deal breakers. When it comes to foundation issues, the main objective is to determine the causes behind cracks. Is it just minor settling of the structure, or is it more serious, such as large tree roots or poor soil conditions? Once you’ve found the cause of the cracking, you’ll be able to better assess whether you’re willing to move forward.
- Lead paint – In addition to asbestos, older homes may also contain lead paint. This could be a red flag, especially for families with young children, because lead paint is extremely dangerous when consumed. Removing lead paint can also be costly.
- Mold – Not all mold issues are created equal. If the mold found in a bathroom can be remedied simply by installing an exhaust fan, it’s not cause for great concern. However, if the home inspector finds mold due to invasive roof leakage, or irrigation or plumbing damage, you may want to research the repair costs before making your final decision on the house.
- Old roof – A home inspector will be able to help you determine if any roofing issues are minor, or if there is wood or structural damage under the roof. Keep in mind that replacing a roof can cost thousands of dollars, so it’s important to have all the facts from an inspector you trust.
- Pests - From wood-eating insects like termites, to cockroaches, to burrowing rats and mice, pests can damage the structure of a home in many ways. However, not all pest problems are as serious as others. When in doubt, call in a pest control company to give you a quote before putting a bid on a house with a rodent or insect problem.
- Water damage – Be sure to get an explanation for any water damage you discover. Find out if the basement is likely to flood or if rusty pipes played a role. These larger issues should raise a red flag and help you determine if this is a deal breaker for you.
The information uncovered in the home inspection can be used for negotiation with the seller. If the home has major issues, you may ask the seller to fix the problems or drop the asking price so you have extra money to take care of them yourself.
When you do decide to put a bid on a house, it's important to find the mortgage loan that best fits your family’s budget. At Nationwide Bank, there are many types of mortgages designed to meet your borrowing needs – from fixed and adjustable rate mortgage loans, to jumbo loans and refinancing.