Discovering things that can fail a home inspection

Common Things That ‘Fail’ a Home Inspection

Whether you’re buying, selling, or working as an agent for an inspected home, it’s crucial to understand what could make or break the results. A home inspection is a vital step in the home-buying process, and it can be a somewhat stressful task. If you’ve ever wondered about the kind of things that ‘fail’ a home inspection, you’re not alone – and you’re in the right place!

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common issues that are found during a home inspection and provide insights into every role in the process.

Understanding Home Inspections

Before jumping into the most common red flags, it’s important to note a few things about the process of a home inspection. Contrary to some misconceptions, home inspections do not operate on a pass-or-fail system.¬†While notable issues may be observed, there aren’t really things that will fail a home inspection completely. Instead, their purpose is to provide an in-depth snapshot of the property’s current condition, highlighting any existing or potential issues that may need to be addressed. These findings provide critical information that can influence the home-buying process in several ways.

Negotiations: Buyers can use the details from the inspection report to negotiate a lower price, reflecting the anticipated cost of repairs.

Repairs: The buyer may request that the seller address the significant issues before completing the sale.

Seller’s Credit: Rather than requesting repairs, the buyer might ask for a credit equal to the estimated cost of repairs, allowing them to manage the repairs themselves post-purchase.

Contract Termination: If the inspection reveals substantial issues that the seller is unwilling or unable to resolve, the buyer may opt to walk away from the deal, provided the contract includes an inspection contingency.

For sellers, the home inspection report can also be a useful tool. A positive report can be a selling point, while a report highlighting issues provides an opportunity to make necessary repairs before listing, potentially increasing the property’s market value. In essence, rather than looking for things that fail a home inspection, an inspector creates a detailed examination that equips all parties with the data needed to make informed decisions throughout the process.

Structural Problems

Firstly, structural issues are one of the most critical factors that can lead to problems during a home inspection. These can include foundation cracks, sagging floors, or roof damage. When inspecting a property, a professional inspector will thoroughly examine the structural integrity of the house. Any signs of structural problems can raise red flags and potentially deter potential buyers.

Key Structural Issues to Watch For:

  • Foundation cracks or shifts
  • Sagging or uneven floors
  • Roof damage or leaks
  • Cracks in walls or ceilings
  • Doors or windows that stick or won’t close properly

Electrical and Plumbing Concerns

Switching gears to electrical and plumbing concerns, outdated electrical systems, and faulty plumbing are common issues in home inspections. Poor or old wiring, overloaded circuits, and outdated plumbing fixtures can pose safety hazards and affect the functionality of the house. Buyers want to ensure that the electrical and plumbing systems are up to code and in good working condition.

Common Electrical and Plumbing Concerns:

  • Outdated electrical wiring or panels
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Leaking pipes
  • Dripping faucets
  • Poor water pressure or drainage

Old electrical panels are among the things that can fail a home inspection

HVAC System Deficiencies

Next, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system plays a significant role in providing comfort and maintaining indoor air quality. Issues with the HVAC system, such as malfunctioning furnaces, inadequate insulation, or poor ventilation, can result in extra steps for the seller. Consequently, homebuyers want to ensure that the HVAC system is functioning efficiently and meets their needs.

Typical HVAC System Deficiencies:

  • Aged or malfunctioning furnace or air conditioner
  • Inadequate insulation
  • Poor ventilation
  • Dirty or clogged filters
  • Leaking ductwork

Roof Damage and Leaks

Moving on to the exterior, a damaged or leaking roof is a common problem for a home buyer. Roof issues, such as missing shingles, leaks, or signs of water damage, can indicate potential structural problems or inadequate maintenance. Buyers want to ensure that the roof is in good condition and will protect their investment. Sellers should address any roof issues promptly to avoid complications during the inspection process.

Frequent Roof Damage and Leak Signs:

  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Signs of leaks, such as water stains on ceilings
  • Sagging roof deck
  • Damaged flashing around vents, chimneys, or skylights
  • Overflowing gutters or downspouts

Pest damage and roof issues are some things that can fail a home inspection

Pest Infestations

Finally, pest infestations, such as termites, rodents, or ants, can significantly impact a home’s value and require treatment before selling. These unwanted guests can cause extensive damage to the property’s structure and pose health risks. Buyers want to ensure that the house is free from any pest infestations before closing on a home. Sellers should consider conducting regular pest inspections and addressing any infestations promptly to avoid potential deal breakers.

Common Pest Infestations:

  • Termites
  • Rodents
  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Bed bugs

Tips for a Smooth Inspection

When it comes to ensuring a smooth home inspection, preparation is key. For home sellers, this means addressing known issues before listing the property. A pre-inspection can be a valuable tool in identifying potential problems. This allows sellers to make necessary repairs or upgrades ahead of time, avoiding potential complications during the buying process. Furthermore, sellers should ensure all systems are in good working condition and provide necessary documentation for recent repairs or upgrades.
On the other hand, for home buyers, a close eye should be kept on the structural integrity of the house, electrical and plumbing systems, HVAC functionality, roof condition, and any signs of pest infestations during the inspection. Following the inspection, it’s crucial to review the report thoroughly and seek professional advice if any concerns arise.
Also, real estate agents play a critical role in guiding their clients through the inspection process. They can recommend reliable home inspectors, attend the inspections with their clients, help interpret the inspection report, negotiate repairs or credits, and guide their clients through the necessary steps for a successful transaction.

Other Recommended Maintenance

In addition to the inspection, regular home maintenance can preserve the overall value and functionality of a property. Although the above issues are not things that will ‘fail’ a home inspection necessarily, it’s a good idea to stay on top of them. Here’s some additional maintenance to focus on:

  • Regular Cleaning of Gutters and Downspouts: Gutters and downspouts are crucial for directing water away from your home’s foundation. Regular cleaning can prevent blockages and potential water damage.
  • Routine Checks for Leaks or Water Damage: Regularly inspect areas prone to water damage, like your roof, basement, and areas around windows and doors. Early detection of leaks can prevent more serious structural damage.
  • Landscaping Maintenance: Proper landscaping can prevent damage to your home’s exterior and improve its curb appeal. This includes trimming overgrown trees or shrubs that could potentially damage the house during a storm.
  • Regular Servicing of Major Appliances: Major appliances, like your HVAC system, water heater, and large kitchen appliances, should be serviced regularly to ensure they’re functioning efficiently. Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of these appliances and prevent unexpected breakdowns.
  • Regular Pest Inspections: Regular pest inspections can help to detect infestations early before they lead to more extensive damage. This is particularly important in areas prone to termites or other destructive pests.

By maintaining these aspects of your home, you can prevent many of the common issues that may arise during a home inspection and protect your property’s value and longevity.

When to Call a Professional

Of course, when faced with home issues, it’s essential to know when to call a professional. Structural problems, significant electrical or plumbing concerns, HVAC malfunctions, roof damage, and pest infestations are complex issues that typically require professional attention. Involving a professional ensures that these problems are addressed correctly and safely.
Moreover, employing a professional for regular maintenance checks can help identify potential issues before they become serious problems. This can save homeowners significant time and money in the long run.


To summarize, there’s no need to worry too much about things that fail a home inspection since there’s no such thing! However, being informed about common issues that can be a red flag is fundamental to a successful home buying or selling process. By addressing potential problems proactively, maintaining your home regularly, and knowing when to call in professionals, you can ensure a smoother inspection process and protect the value of your property.
At Champia Real Estate Inspections, we are committed to providing comprehensive, high-quality home inspections that help buyers, sellers, and real estate agents make informed decisions. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in your home-buying or selling journey!