Worst Home Inspection Findings When Buying or Selling

a concrete slab with the word safety written on it

As a homebuyer, you’re probably aware of the importance of having a home inspection. However, what may not be so clear is how to interpret the inspection report.

The results are not as simple as a “pass” or “fail”. Instead, you’ll get a detailed report of all the potential issues. Then, it’ll be up to you how to proceed. One thing to keep in mind is that not all potential hazards are created equal. Some may be easily remedied, while others could pose a serious safety risk.

Keep reading to learn the worst home inspection findings and safety hazards that can show up on an inspection report.

1. Electrical Problems

a man standing in a partially renovated house

If you read or hear the words “knob and tube wiring” on your inspection report, get ready for an extensive (and expensive) rewiring to make your home safe.

This was the standard electrical system from the 1880s to the 1940s, and it hasn’t aged well. This old system of wires wrapped around porcelain knobs is notorious for mismanaged repairs and upgrades that can create fire hazards.

Many home insurance companies and mortgage lenders won’t even offer coverage or financing unless the system is entirely replaced, which usually costs thousands.

Not all electrical problems are as severe. But it’s still important to get them checked and repaired (for the sake of fire safety) quickly after buying a property.

2. Water Damage

water spiralling down a drain at home

Water damage is often insidious, gradually creeping in and causing ever-increasing problems. Because it can be largely hidden, small signs can indicate extensive damage.

For example, peeling paint or wallpaper, stains on ceilings or walls, warping floors or doors, and moldy odors may all point to extensive water damage hidden beneath the surface. The source of the damage may be something as simple as a leaking pipe or a faulty gutter. But if it’s left unchecked, it can quickly lead to major problems.

Any water damage at all can also point to problems in more serious areas. For example, a small amount of water seepage in a basement may seem like a minor problem. But it could be indicative of a serious issue with the foundation.

Similarly, a small leak in a kitchen or bathroom could be a sign of major problems with the plumbing. And a small spot on the ceiling may not seem serious. But if it’s the result of a leaky roof, your wallet will feel the impact.

Water damage can also lead to health hazards. Mold and mildew can grow in damp, dark areas and cause respiratory problems, especially for those with allergies or asthma. Some varieties of mold can even be toxic.

Depending on the extent of the mold, it can cost thousands of dollars to remove. This isn’t even going into plumbing concerns. Much like knob and tube wiring, “galvanized pipes” is a phrase you never want to read in an inspection report. DIY plumbing fixes can be costly to remediate.

3. Foundation Damage

a cracked foundation in a brick wall

If you’ve got a major foundation issue, such as bowing walls or a sinking foundation that requires hydraulic piers to stabilize, this could be your future. Even minor cracks can cost several hundred dollars to fix, and yet they can’t be left alone because they can let in water that will make the damage worse.

Foundation damage is expensive to repair and can also be dangerous, especially if the issues are not fixed. A shifting foundation can cause cracks in walls and ceilings, which can lead to water damage, mold growth, and other problems. A cracked foundation affects everything built above it, and when left unrepaired, it only gets worse over time.

One of the reasons you should never skip a home inspection is that you can leverage existing damage to negotiate the price of the home. If the seller repairs a $500 crack or gives you a credit to repair it, congratulations; your inspection has just paid for itself.

4. Roof Damage

There’s a reason why recent roof replacements are high on many buyers’ wishlists. A new roof is a big-ticket item and one that most new homeowners don’t want to deal with. A home inspection looks for current damage and how much time is left in the roof’s expected useful lifespan.

If it turns out your new home’s asphalt-shingled roof is at year 22 of an average 25-year lifespan, you’re looking at a significant replacement bill on the horizon. The cost of a new roof depends on the size and pitch of the roof, the type of materials used, and the location of the home.

But it’s not uncommon for a complete replacement to cost $10,000 or more. And that’s for a standard shingled roof—if you’re choosing a more durable and long-lasting material like slate for your replacement, expect much higher costs. Roof damage can also lead to other problems, from water damage to pest infestations to higher electricity bills from escaping A/C.


While a home inspection will cost you a few hundred dollars, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing the condition of your new home. It can also give you leverage to negotiate for repairs or a lower purchase price.

Plus, if you’re selling your home, getting an inspection as a seller can help you identify and fix potential problems before they become an issue for buyers and lose you a deal. While most home inspection reports don’t uncover issues as serious as the ones above, it’s important to be aware of the potential hazards that can pop up.

If you want to skip the inspection and sell your house, we can help. We buy houses without asking you to complete repairs. At Brotherly Love Real Estate, we’re a professional home buyer. We buy houses fast for cash, regardless of condition, helping you sell quickly and affordably. Contact our expert team today to get your cash offer.