The 10 Worst Things a Home Inspector Can Tell a Client

House Caution Solid State Home Inspections

Home inspections can be a very stressful time for home buyers. Clients spend considerable time looking for the right home, go through a negotiation with the seller, and are often emotionally attached to a home by the time they call in a home inspector. The clients emotions can hang on every concern the inspector brings up but some concerns are bigger than others. 


On our wet Canadian west coast, these are the top 10 worst possible things a home inspector can tell their client in a home inspection:


  1. Your House was a Grow Op - Grow ops can do considerable hidden moisture damage to homes as well as leave behind structural concerns and damage to pluming and electrical. Buying a former grow-op could mean big expenses in the future. (see our article on Grow-Op’s for more information)
  2. Your Foundation Has Major Cracks - Minor foundation cracks can happen in initial building settlements, changes of direction in material, or initial concrete shrinkage. Major foundation cracks could suggest a failure in the foundation and possible water leaks. Repairing foundations can be very expensive.
  3. Your Home is wired with Aluminum Wire - Solid core aluminum branch wiring has been associated with a high level or electrical house fires. Insurance companies may not insure a house with this wiring or will charge a premium. Re-wiring the home is the best solution which costs many thousands of dollars. (see our article on aluminum wire for more information)
  4. Your House has Rot Problems - Most of our houses are made out of wood and when moisture, wood, and warmth meet, rot will set in and damage the home. Worst case, the structure of the home is rotting and needs major repairs. Best case, only some siding and trim is rotting. Concealed rot can be an expensive surprise for home owners.
  5. Your House has Structural Issues - Sagging roofs, removed structural walls, and undersized building materials can all lead to homes losing structural integrity. Symptoms can be floors off level, roof rafters sagging, and cracking in the home’s finishes. Repairing structural issues can be disruptive and very expensive and not something a client will want to hear in a home inspection.
  6. Your House May Contain Asbestos - Houses built before 1980 have a very high likelihood of containing asbestos building materials. Asbestos if left undisturbed is not considered a hazard but if a client is planning renovations, it is best to get an asbestos inspection from a separate asbestos professional (see our article on asbestos for more information)
  7. Your House has Mold - Mold grows when warmth, organic material (e.g. wood, paper), and humidity of at least 15% exist. Mold is often the sign of another problem like water leaks. If the water source is from outside, there could be many more problems with the home. Mold identified in a home inspection requires additional investigation from a mold specialist.
  8. Your House has/may have an Oil Tank - Unused oil tanks will are fire hazards and they will rust and leak oil which is considered an environmental contaminate. Current and even previous home owners who never knew there was an oil tank can be held accountable for removal and environmental clean up costs which will be in the thousands. (see our article on oil tanks for more information)
  9. Your House’s Roof Is Leaking - Roofs can leak unpredictable and unexpectedly from damage, age, or neglected maintenance. Even minor roof leaks often do damage to interior finishes which can be disruptive and expensive to repair. Roof systems that are past their service life can cost in the tens of thousands to replace.
  10.  Your House Has Polybutylene Piping - All water piping in houses can spring a leaks with time and age but polybutylene piping is document to have a higher failure rate than copper or PEX plastic. Buying a home with PB piping increases risks of not just leaks but also the repairs of the damage done by water. Replacing PB with PEX is the best solution but it costs in the thousands of dollars. Some insurance companies may charge a premium for homes with PB piping. (see our article on Polybutylene piping for more information)


Home Inspectors can offer a lot of protection to home owners as they don’t have an emotional attachment to the home. While the client may be thinking how great the tile in the bathroom looks or how well they can host a dinner party, the inspector will be looking diligently in the clients interests for major home concerns that could cost the client money in the future.


Select a home inspector you are confident is an expert but also a great communicator as your emotions will be riding high on inspection day and you need an inspector who can help you interpret their findings so you understand if the home you are buying is safe and solid.


By James Bell - Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc.