Last updated on April 22nd, 2024 at 06:08 am

Quick Answer

  • Unless required by law, sellers don't have to fix anything in a house. In fact many sellers advertise their house "as-is"

Buying a house is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one — especially when it comes to home inspections.

A home inspection can reveal issues that need to be addressed before the sale can go through. 

But what repairs are essential, and which ones can be overlooked?

From plumbing and HVAC issues to roofing and appliance repairs that may be requested, we will cover all bases. 

We’ll also discuss what repairs sellers can refuse to make and how buyers can find a compromise on repairs.

So, whether you’re a buyer or seller, this guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of home inspection repairs with confidence.

What is a Home Inspection

  • A home inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of a home’s condition and is usually conducted by a professional home inspector.
  • Home inspection reports are usually provided to the buyer and seller, and can include a list of items that need to be fixed or repaired.
  • A home inspection report typically covers the structure, roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, and other systems.
  • The average cost of a home inspection is $300-$500.
  • The average home inspection takes 2-3 hours.

A Comprehensive Examination:

A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of a home’s major systems and components. Think of it as a detailed physical checkup for your potential dwelling. Inspectors meticulously assess various areas, including:

  • Structural elements: Foundation, framing, roof, exterior walls, and crawl spaces are scrutinized for signs of cracks, leaks, or structural unsoundness.

  • Interior systems: Plumbing, electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, and ventilation are evaluated for functionality, safety hazards, and adherence to building codes.

  • Major appliances: Major appliances like furnaces, water heaters, and air conditioners are inspected for proper operation and potential breakdowns.

  • Other key areas: Inspectors also check fireplaces, chimneys, doors, windows, and insulation for any issues that could impact the home’s comfort and safety.

The Trained Eye of a Certified Inspector:

Home inspections aren’t simply visual walkthroughs; they require keen observation and specialized knowledge. Enter the certified home inspector, a trained professional armed with expertise and experience.

Their certifications from accredited organizations and adherence to strict standards ensure you get the most comprehensive assessment possible.

Why Tackling Fixes After a Home Inspection Matters

Safety First: Top of the priority list should be any issue posing a potential threat to your health or well-being.

Leaky roofs, faulty electrical wiring, or malfunctioning smoke detectors are not inconveniences; they’re ticking time bombs that could lead to accidents, fires, or even tragedy.

Addressing these issues immediately ensures you move into a secure environment where you and your loved ones can truly feel safe.

Beyond Band-Aids: Beyond immediate safety concerns, addressing fixes uncovered by the inspection strengthens the very foundation of your home.

Unrepaired cracks in the foundation can compromise the house’s structural integrity, while neglected cracks in plumbing can turn into costly bursts and water damage.

Ignoring a malfunctioning heating system might seem manageable in the summer, but come winter, a breakdown can leave you shivering and facing major repair bills. 

Investing in Longevity: Think of those mandatory fixes as an investment in your home’s longevity saves you from bigger problems down the line.

A leaky roof left unchecked invites mold growth and structural damage, while ignored electrical issues can shorten the lifespan of appliances and increase fire risk. 

During a home inspection, plumbing issues are some of the most common repairs that homeowners need to address.

Homeowners should keep an eye out for leaking faucets and pipes, low water pressure, running toilets, and damaged sewer lines.

These plumbing issues can lead to a host of problems including moisture intrusion and health hazards.

Addressing these necessary repairs promptly ensures that your home is free of potential buyer concerns or repair requests.

Common Mandatory Fixes After a Home Inspection

Home inspections can be a treasure trove of information, but deciphering the list of “fixes” can feel daunting. 

Safety First: Addressing Immediate Threats

These issues pose a direct threat to your well-being and should be tackled without delay:

  • Electrical Hazards: Faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and ungrounded outlets are ticking time bombs for electrical fires. Imagine sparks flying and appliances sputtering – not the ambiance you desire.
    Image of Exposed electrical wires in a home
  • Structural Concerns: Major cracks in foundation walls, sagging beams, or roof leaks compromise the home’s integrity. Think leaning towers of Pisa – not the ideal architectural inspiration for your abode.
    Image of Cracks in a foundation wall
  • Plumbing Perils: Leaky pipes, corroded valves, or backed-up sewage systems can lead to water damage,mold growth, and even health hazards. Picture geysers erupting from your faucets – not exactly a refreshing sight.
    Image of Leaky pipes under a kitchen sink
  • Fire Hazards: Malfunctioning smoke detectors, blocked escape routes, or faulty chimneys pose serious fire risks. Imagine flames engulfing your home – a nightmare scenario to avoid.
    Image of malfunctioning smoke detector

Code Violations: Crossing the Line

Beyond immediate safety concerns, some issues might not pose immediate danger but violate building codes and could lead to complications down the line:

  • Improper Ventilation: Lack of proper ventilation in kitchens and bathrooms can lead to moisture buildup,mold growth, and respiratory issues. Picture steamy showers turning your bathroom into a sauna – not the relaxing spa experience you deserve.
    Image of bathroom with improper ventilation
  • Gas Leaks: Undetected gas leaks can cause explosions and pose serious health risks. Imagine the faint smell of gas turning into a life-threatening situation – a scenario to nip in the bud.
    Image of gas leak detector
  • Unpermitted Work: Additions or renovations done without proper permits might be structurally unsound or violate safety codes. Think DIY disasters masquerading as improvements – not the legacy you want to inherit.
    Image of Unpermitted construction work on a home

What Fixes Need to be done now

  • Immediate Attention Required: These are the red flags, the urgent threats demanding immediate action.  Think structural instability, electrical hazards, and major plumbing leaks. Picture cracks snaking across your foundation like lightning bolts, faulty wires sparking like fireworks, or geysers erupting from your pipes – scenarios demanding swift intervention.
  • Near-Term Concerns: These issues aren’t life-threatening but can lead to bigger problems if left unchecked. Think deteriorating roofs, inefficient HVAC systems, and outdated electrical panels.
  • Long-Term Improvements: These are cosmetic upgrades or minor repairs that can wait without jeopardizing your safety or comfort. Think outdated paint jobs, chipped tiles, or leaky faucets. Imagine chipped paint resembling a Jackson Pollock masterpiece – aesthetically questionable but not functionally threatening.

Prioritizing the Battlefield: Severity vs. Impact

Within each tier, further prioritize based on severity and impact.

For example, a major foundation crack takes precedence over a leaky faucet, both being “Immediate” concerns.

Similarly, a failing roof trumps a drafty window, both falling under “Near-Term” fixes. Remember, severity refers to the immediacy of the risk, while impact considers the broader consequences if left unaddressed.

Remember, prioritizing fixes is not a one-time exercise. Regularly re-evaluate your list as you tackle repairs, and be flexible enough to adjust based on any unforeseen issues that may arise.

Benefits of Hiring Professionals :

  • Safety First: Qualified professionals have the knowledge and experience to handle potentially dangerous repairs involving electricity, plumbing, or structural issues. No more DIY Frankenstein experiments – leave the heavy lifting to the experts.
  • Quality Workmanship: Professionals ensure repairs are done correctly and up to code, minimizing the risk of future problems and costly re-dos. Picture sturdy walls instead of wobbly towers.
  • Efficiency and Speed: With their expertise and tools, professionals can tackle repairs faster and more efficiently than DIY attempts, saving you time and frustration. No more battling leaky faucets for hours – let the pros turn off the tears.
  • Warranties and Guarantees: Reputable professionals often offer warranties on their work, giving you peace of mind and recourse in case of any issues. Think of it as an insurance policy against shoddy work.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your home is in the hands of qualified professionals allows you to relax and focus on other aspects of your life. No more sleepless nights worrying about faulty wiring or crumbling foundations.

Budgeting for the Bumps

To avoid sticker shock, it’s wise to budget for repairs before you even walk through the door. Here’s how:

  • Set a realistic repair budget: Dedicate a percentage of your overall home purchase budget to potential fixes, factoring in the age and condition of the home. Think piggy bank planning.
  • Prioritize your fixes: Categorize repairs based on severity and tackle them in stages. This allows you to allocate funds strategically and avoid financial overload. Think triage for your finances.
  • Factor in additional costs: Besides the repair itself, consider potential permits, disposal fees, and temporary living arrangements, if needed. Think beyond the hammer and nails.

Quote Quest: Finding Fair Prices:

Now that you have a budgetary roadmap, it’s time to find qualified professionals and obtain multiple quotes. Remember, the first price isn’t always the best! Here are some tips:

  • Get at least three quotes: This gives you a range of prices and allows you to compare apples to apples (or rather, leaky faucets to faulty wiring).
  • Ask detailed questions: Understand the scope of work, materials used, warranties offered, and timeline for completion. Think probing questions, not passive acceptance.
  • Compare quotes carefully: Don’t just focus on the cheapest price. Consider the contractor’s qualifications,experience, and customer reviews. Think quality over quick fixes.
  • Negotiate if necessary: Don’t be afraid to negotiate, especially if you have multiple quotes in hand. However,be fair and avoid lowballing offers. Think win-win, not price war.

How sellers can negotiate with buyers

The ultimate goal is a win-win solution that addresses your concerns while being fair to the seller. 

  • Offer potential concessions: Consider offering to contribute towards certain repairs based on your budget or the severity of the issue. Think win-win compromises, not one-sided ultimatums.
  • Be willing to negotiate price: Depending on the extent of repairs needed, adjusting the purchase price could be a solution.
  • Remember, sometimes a lower price point might be more beneficial than seller-funded repairs,depending on your budget and preferences. Think flexibility rather than inflexibility.
  • Seek professional guidance: If the negotiation gets complex, consider consulting a real estate agent or lawyer experienced in home buying negotiations. Think expert advice, not solo ventures.

A seller has the right to refuse repairs that are not legally or contractually required.

Cosmetic or minor repairs may also be exempt.

If the cost of repairs is high, a credit may be negotiated instead. Understand repair obligations beforehand.

Final Take-aways

It is important to address home inspection fixes before making a purchase. Plumbing issues, HVAC problems, mold problems, roofing issues, and appliance repairs are some of the key areas that require attention.

Many we buy house companies in San Antonio TX look for problem homes that they can fix and repair that normal buyer wouldn’t be interested in.

While sellers may not always be required to pay for the fixes, finding a compromise on repairs can help both parties.

It’s also important to disclose any home inspection problems and work with realtors who can help with repair negotiations.

By addressing repairs upfront and taking steps to avoid future repairs, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable homeownership experience.