After a thorough home inspection when buying a house, it's not uncommon to discover a laundry list of repairs that need to be addressed. From minor cosmetic issues to major structural concerns, the findings can often be overwhelming. Whether you're buying a home or selling one, it's essential to understand the common repairs needed after a home inspection. That's why our agents are providing valuable insights into the home inspection process, why they're important, and the common repairs that may come up following an inspection.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough evaluation of a property's condition, typically conducted by a professional home inspector. The goal of the process is to identify any existing or potential issues with the property. These often range from structural concerns to essential systems such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.

Why is a Home Inspection Important?

Bert Woodall
Bert Woodall

A home inspection is important because it allows prospective buyers to uncover any hidden issues that may impact the property's value and livability. West & Woodall REALTOR and Co-Owner Bert Woodall says, "It provides an opportunity for the buyer to evaluate the integrity of the home and make informed decisions regarding the purchase." Identifying these issues before purchasing a home can save the buyer from unexpected expenses and headaches down the road. This, in turn, can give the buyer peace of mind, knowing that they have a clear understanding of the property's condition and any potential issues.

When Should a Home Inspection be Done?

A home inspection should be scheduled after an offer has been made on the property but before the sale is finalized during closing. This is known as the due diligence period, which refers to the time when the buyer has the right to inspect the property, conduct a title search, get an appraisal, and ensure everything is as it should be. According to Bert, "The due diligence period allows buyers the chance to identify any major issues and negotiate repairs or adjustments to the purchase agreement if necessary." The length of the due diligence period varies but is usually between two to four weeks.

How Long Does a Home Inspection Take?

The length of a home inspection can vary depending on the size and condition of the home but typically takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Larger or older homes may take longer to inspect, while smaller or newer homes may take less time. During this time, the inspector meticulously examines various aspects of the property, including the exterior, interior, electrical system, plumbing, roofing, and more. It's important for the inspector to thoroughly evaluate the property, so the length of the inspection will depend on the complexity of the home and the thoroughness of the inspector.

Common Repairs Needed After a Home Inspection

It’s important to note that if you’re a seller and know of an issue with the home, it should be disclosed on the property disclosure. Bert says, “It’s common for a seller to go ahead and make the repair before even putting the house on the market. This may result in getting more money for the property, and it often instills a sense of confidence in both the inspector and the buyer about the overall condition of the home."

In many cases though, sellers aren’t aware of issues until after the inspection report comes back. Here's a look at what our agents say are some of the most common repairs needed after an inspection.

Liz Schoeneberger

What we often find in inspection reports are plumbing, roofing, and electrical repair issues.

  • Plumbing issues could include leaks under sinks, worn-out wax rings on toilets, and water heater leaks or defects.
  • Roofing repairs could include worn-out flashing, lifting or missing shingles, or simply replacing older roofs.
  • Electrical repairs could include missing/faulty GFCI outlets, loose outlets, and missing smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

We recommend getting a pre-listing inspection to head off a lot of these issues. And of course, when buying, using a licensed inspector who provides a detailed inspection and report is of the utmost importance.

Jeanette Hussey

The issue most often discovered is in the crawlspace of the home. Lots of homeowners do not go into their crawlspaces (creepy, spiders, maybe a snake) so they don't really know what is happening in that space. With the high humidity of our area, moisture readings tend to be high which causes fungal growth. A good vapor barrier with full coverage can help eliminate some of these problems. That is the first step in getting moisture levels under control. Call your REALTOR and ask for recommendations if you have these issues. Prices for remediation vary greatly.

Leigh Ann Rasberry

Most home inspections find moisture in the crawlspace and missing GFCI outlets. Moisture is most common in the crawlspace when there is not a moisture barrier laid or the moisture barrier is not correctly installed. Older homes usually do not have GFCI outlets because they were not a requirement when the home was built.

What Fixes are Mandatory After a Home Inspection?

Kirk West
Kirk West

When it comes to mandatory repairs after a home inspection, sellers are typically not required to fix cosmetic issues or normal wear and tear found during a home inspection. These issues are often considered the buyer's responsibility and are not obligatory for the seller to address. REALTOR and West & Woodall Co-Owner Kirk West says that’s why it's crucial to be aware of state laws and local ordinances because they may impact the seller's liability for any issues uncovered during the inspection. These laws can vary from state to state and may outline specific repairs that sellers are not legally required to fix.

In North Carolina, there are no mandatory fixes after a home inspection. According to Kirk, by law, North Carolina is a buyer beware state. This means that it is the buyer's responsibility to learn as much about the house as possible by having thorough inspections conducted during the due diligence period. If issues are found, the buyer can request repairs or an allowance for the repairs, but if the seller refuses, it is up to the buyer to decide whether to purchase the house "as is" or not. Kirk says, "A buyer can back out of a contract at any time, although they will lose their due diligence money and could also lose their earnest money."

Ultimately, it’s advisable for both buyers and sellers to familiarize themselves with the relevant laws and contractual agreements in their specific area to understand their rights and responsibilities regarding repairs discovered during a home inspection.

Negotiation Strategies for Home Fixes

Even in buyer beware states such as North Carolina, there are still strategies sellers can employ to negotiate home fixes and potentially reach an agreement with the buyer. While there are no mandatory fixes, it is important to consider the concerns raised during the inspection process and address them in a way that benefits both parties.

One approach is to have open communication with the buyer and their agent. Engage in discussions to understand their specific concerns and discuss possible solutions. This can help in finding common ground and potentially negotiate repairs or an allowance for repairs that satisfy both parties.

Kirk adds that you can also consider offering incentives to the buyer to make the deal more attractive. For example, you could propose including appliances or furniture that you don’t plan to take with you when you move. By offering something of value to the buyer, you may be able to find a compromise that addresses their concerns while also benefiting you as the seller.

Kirk points out that these negotiation strategies should be considered after receiving the inspection report. This allows you to evaluate the specific fixes required and tailor your approach accordingly. By being proactive and open to finding mutually beneficial solutions, you can navigate the negotiation process and potentially reach a satisfactory agreement with the buyer.

Remember, even though North Carolina is a buyer beware state, it’s still in your best interest as a seller to address concerns and negotiate in good faith. This can help facilitate a smoother transaction and increase the likelihood of a successful sale.

Who Pays for the Repairs?

The responsibility for paying for the repairs is typically negotiated between the buyer and the seller. In some cases, the seller may agree to cover the cost of certain repairs as part of the purchase agreement, while in others, the buyer may take on the responsibility post-purchase.

Can You Ask for a Price Reduction After a Home Inspection?

According to Jeanette Hussey, following a home inspection, the buyer can request a price reduction instead of repairs. Additionally, the buyer may ask the seller to cover closing costs. 

Bottom Line on Common Repairs Needed After a Home Inspection

Navigating the common repairs needed after a home inspection is a crucial aspect of the homebuying and selling process. Understanding the significance of home inspections, the common repairs that may arise, and the negotiation process for addressing these issues can empower both buyers and sellers. If you have any questions, be sure to address them with your real estate agent.