If you’re reading a home inspection report for the first time, it can seem overwhelming. The report can range from about 15 to about 50 pages, and contains a great deal of information about the home, the inspector’s process, and any defects or dangerous conditions found during the inspection process. Some of these conditions present real risks or potential expenses down the line, while others may not present any issues at all once you move into the home. We’ve compiled a list of the most common home inspection findings, and what they mean for you as a potential new homeowner.

1. Roof Issues

The national average cost to replace a roof is $8,000. Not a bad price, when you consider a roof should be expected to last somewhere between 15 and 50 years, depending on your home’s location and the type of roof. However, if you’re buying a home where the roof is nearing the end of its useful life, or worse, has significant issues now, you can expect costs to pile up pretty quickly as soon as you take ownership of the home. 

That’s why your home inspector will carefully look at the home’s roof and note its condition and potential leaks or other defects. As a buyer, understanding this aspect of the report is key. If the roof is in serious disrepair, you may be able to negotiate for repairs or for a “roof allowance” — essentially a price reduction or cash from the seller at closing — to allow you to replace the roof yourself. 

2. HVAC Condition

Your home inspector will also note the condition of the home’s HVAC system. While some HVAC issues are serious, and can mean expensive repairs are in the buyer’s future, it’s important for buyers to understand that not all HVAC problems are necessarily a reason to kill a deal. If the HVAC system is still within the expected life of 15 – 20 years, it may simply be in need of regular maintenance or servicing. If your inspection notes flaws in the HVAC system of your potential new home, it’s a great idea to engage a professional and investigate further before calling off your purchase.

3. Electrical Issues

Electrical problems can range from serious, including visible signs of dangerous knob and tube wiring, to relatively minor and easily fixed defects like an improper number of GFCI outlets or a switch that doesn’t seem to be connected. While almost all inspection reports will note some electrical issues as a result of the age of the home or changing regulations, understanding when these notes are serious can help you to assess the value of your investment and the potential cost of repair. Any issues that have a potential impact on safety should be remediated immediately. 

4. Gutter Problems

Your inspection will note any inspector’s findings regarding the condition of the home’s gutters and drainage. While gutters in disrepair can be a cause for concern — buyers should check for any water damage that may have been caused by inadequate drainage — gutter problems are relatively common, and generally not too costly to repair. 

5. Inadequate Insulation And Ventilation In The Attic

Your inspection will include an examination of the home’s attic space, including both insulation and ventilation. Particularly in older homes, or in homes where the current occupant has owned the home a long time, your inspector’s report may indicate signs of inadequate ventilation and insulation. While these are not structural problems, they can indicate that the home may be uncomfortable in extreme weather, and more difficult to heat or cool. It’s common for purchasers to negotiate with sellers to add insulation or improve the attic’s ventilation, so reviewing and understanding these notes can be important for buyers as they proceed from the inspection phase and engage in further negotiations before closing.

6. Signs Of Water Damage

Your inspector will also note potential signs of water intrusion into the home, including discoloration, ground that slopes or drains toward the home instead of away from it, and obvious external signs of rot or water damage.

The inspection will also note visible signs of mold. The word “mold” alone usually sets off alarm bells for home purchasers. However, an inspection report that notes signs of mold is not necessarily a cause for major consternation, but rather a sign that the buyer may want to engage professionals for further investigation. 

If water intrusion or damage is noted in your inspection report, it’s important to investigate further. Some water damage can be easily remediated, but water damage can be a sign of serious problems with your new home, including leaking plumbing, rot behind the walls, or other damage that can add up to expensive repairs over time. Following up on signs of water damage is an important step in understanding and protecting your investment.

7. Structural Or Foundational Problems

The inspection will involve a review of the visible portions of your home’s structure and foundation, as well as notes regarding any defects or irregularities. Some of these issues may just be cosmetic, involving minor cracks or broken or worn items, but some are cause for major concern. Windows or doors that do not properly close due to shifts in the foundation, major cracks that indicate structural problems beyond normal settling, or other signs of structural damage should be investigated thoroughly before the sale is closed. Buyers should pay particular attention to any foundation or structural defects noted in the inspection report to ensure they understand the nature and extent of any such damage. 

Get Answers to Your Biggest Home Inspection Questions With Windy City Home Inspection

Curious about what goes into the home inspection process across Chicagoland? Want to understand more about what to expect from your inspection? That’s where we come in. 

With Windy City Home Inspection, buyers and sellers can expect a thorough, diligent inspection that never cuts corners. When searching for the right home inspector, it’s important to find someone you can trust — and that’s why we are here for you. The inspectors at Windy City Home Inspection, Inc. are licensed by the State of Illinois, certified, and insured. Each home inspection is backed by our Warranty and Protection Plan. Furthermore, we pride ourselves on our superior customer service. If you ever have questions, even years after your home inspection, we will be here to answer them — even if it means returning to your home. 

At Windy City Home Inspection, Inc., we perform inspections to the highest standards — yours. Backed by a consulting team with more than 60 years of experience, Windy City Home Inspection is committed to excellence. Have a question? Let us help.