• Dave Klima

Huge Deal-Breakers for Homebuyers & Great Advice


You may have found the perfect home to buy, right in the middle of that amazing up-and-coming neighborhood you love so much. You’ve found a good lender you want to work with, and you can already smell that rose garden you want to plant in your new backyard. 


Unfortunately with the way real estate is sold, Buyers are making the biggest investment of their life without truly knowing a lot about the house, therefore they get a home inspection AFTER making an offer on the house.  During the Buyer's home inspection deficiencies are always discovered and sometimes repairs of the deficiencies can not be negotiated.  When repairs are not negotiated the Buyer will walk away from the house and consequently will have just wasted money on the home inspection, appraisal, well and septic inspection, environmental testing, etc.  2-3K can be spent on the home buying process and it is terrible for buyers when the deal falls through.


What do you do?


A home inspector will always find some issues with a house for sale, and many you can live with — literally. But there are some big deal-breakers to watch out for, some of which may require renegotiating the asking price, requesting the repairs be made before you buy, or even just walking away from the sale entirely. Here is our list of too-big-to-ignore deal-breakers that you have to be aware of before you even consider calling that house your home, and you should be aware of some of these things before you even make an offer on the house. 


1. A bad foundation

Small cracks in the walls of older homes are common, but big, gaping fractures in the concrete or basement are red flags. It means the house is shifting from its foundation or sinking into the ground due to poor soil conditions or because water isn’t draining properly. Horizontal cracks and bowing walls are big concerns which can be easy to spot, but some other things to look out for are cracks in upstairs walls, cracks above windows or doors, and doors and windows that don’t shut properly.  It is also important to look for moisture staining on walls, floors, and trim as those stains can be signs of foundation leaks.


2. Poor electrical wiring

There are all sorts of wiring and electrical issues that should give you pause before signing on the dotted line. Exposed wiring is definitely a no-no, but finding a fire hazard as serious as this is pretty rare nowadays. What you should really be concerned about is aluminum wiring, which was widely used in houses during the 1960s. Aluminum expands and contracts with heat, causing connections to loosen and pose a fire risk. Another issue to watch for is knob-and-tube wiring, which is common in homes built before 1930. Certain electrical panels like Federal Pacific Panels with Stab-Lok breakers are known to be defective.  These types of findings will require repairs and in many cases a complete replacement of the entire wiring system or panel.


3. Termites

Termites are responsible for billions of dollars worth of property damage every year, and homeowners insurance rarely covers the cost of repairs. Plus, you’ll need to hire an exterminator to eliminate the infestation, which usually costs several thousand dollars. This issue may not be a total deal-breaker, but it should prompt you to renegotiate the asking price.


4. Roof damage

A good roof can last 25 to 30 years,  but a bad roof might need to be replaced right away. If you’re house-hunting keep an eye out for shingles that are curling, cracked, or missing entirely.  Also, be wary of a roof that sags or is covered in moss or algae.


5. Mold

We all know that certain types of mold are bad and can pose a health hazard.  Mold growth occurs when there are moisture problems such as foundation leaks, plumbing leaks, roof leaks, and high humidity.  When looking around look for moisture staining and look for staining which could be consistent with mold.  If mold is suspected, then you need to absolutely get testing performed to confirm its presence.  After mold is confirmed, then it is recommended mold remediation professionals be contacted to perform all mold remediation work.


6.  Asbestos

We all know asbestos is bad, but it’s not terribly dangerous and easy to fix when it’s contained in the roofing felt or sealant. What you need to worry about is whether the home inspector finds crumbling asbestos insulation around pipes. This poses a serious health risk and will need to be replaced immediately.  Sometimes Asbestos can be found in certain types of flooring, insulation, and exterior wall coverings.  Understanding what these asbestos containing materials can prove to be very beneficial to you.

In order to make much more secure offers on houses Aardvark's recommendation for Buyers is as follows:

  1. Look for houses which have been Pre-Inspected.  Seeing a Pre-Listing Inspection Report will help you make an educated offer on a house vs an uneducated offer.

  2. Search for Houses on Inspectedhouses.com to find houses with Pre-Listing Home Inspections.  Sometimes you can google the address of a house you are interested in followed with the word "inspection" and the Pre Inspected house will show up on the search page.

  3. Hire Aardvark to do a "walk and talk" inspection.  During this type of inspection the home inspector will look at the house with you before you make an offer on the house.  These types of inspections will not come with a report, but they will be educational and help you find major problems before making an offer.

  4. Educate yourself as much as possible about houses and remember to look for those deal breakers mentioned above.

Dave Klima / Aardvark Home Inspectors Inc Message me now!