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  • Writer's pictureHarrison Baron

Is It Possible to Fail a Home Inspection?

“Sorry Mrs. Smith, the home didn’t pass the inspection today.”

Surely this is a phrase a new home buyer doesn’t want to hear but it can happen during a home inspection and yes, you can fail a home inspection.

Can You fail a Home Inspection?

Passing a home inspection is obviously what a new homebuyer and home seller hopes for but what happens if you fail a home inspection?

While it doesn’t happen often you can fail a home inspection. However, if you are prepared you might be able to nip any issue in the bud.

Revealing Problems

Remember it is possible that you can fail a home inspection. When you hire an inspector to do a home inspection overall it is intended to help reveal any problems that a home may have before you sign on the dotted line.

Again, it’s very important for both a home seller and the prospective buyer that the property passes the inspection, but there is always the chance you can fail a home inspection.

If you pass the inspection that means there are no serious issues that have been discovered. A house inspection is a visual evaluation of its condition. It’s like having a checkup at the doctor’s office; a failed inspection is like uncovering something bad during a physical. The inspector will point out all the things that need to be repaired or replaced. But again, there is a chance you can fail a home inspection.

What is Covered in an Inspector's Report?

This will vary depending on the inspector; however, most inspection reports will tell let you know the condition of the following areas as you wonder can you fail a home inspection:

· The heating and cooling equipment.

· The plumbing and electrical wiring.

· The roof and/or attic.

· Structural elements.

· The walls; and

· The insulation.

Be aware: the inspector's job description does not include telling clients if they should or shouldn’t buy a house. They mainly provide information clients can use to decide before buying the home. Keep in mind when having an inspector in the house do his job when he is done you can fail a home inspection.

And always have in the back of your mind can you fail a home inspection before he/she begins the process.

What If You Fail a Home Inspection?

Most of the time the sections that cause the most issues during a home inspection and later the report is those that compromise the health and safety of people living in the home and possibly result in you failing a home inspection.

Here are some examples of how you can fail a home inspection:

Moisture in the Basement: Water can be an issue since basements are below ground level and attract water and cause a home to fail a home inspection.

Water in the soil also adds pressure in basement walls and because it follows, the path of least resistance may cause a wet basement. A damp basement of concrete, brick, or stone and can cause mold. Solutions can be redirecting gutters and installing a sump pump in the basement.

HVAC Issues: HVAC systems can be the source of various problems unearthed by home inspectors too and a cause for failing a home inspection. For example, a home’s wiring may not be up to the demands of the heating and cooling equipment, and gas-fired furnaces may not have certain exhaust systems in place. Other problems include cracked ductwork and flue pipes that have not been installed right.

Roofing Problems: One of the most expensive problems to fix and often a deal-breaker for potential buyers. As roofing materials get older, they are more likely to break down resulting in leaks and water damage. Additionally, they can age faster if not properly installed. For instance, asphalt and wood shingles can curl or look as if they have cupped because of age and be the cause of failing a home inspection.

Moisture Problems in the Attic: Bad insulation, ventilation, or vapor barriers can create moisture in attics. Moisture in the attic may also help mold and mildew to grow. Solving the problem means finding and fixing the source of the moisture and the possibility of failing a home inspection.

Electrical Issues: A home's electrical capacity should meet current standards. Electrical problems inspectors often encounter include over-fusing -- a mismatch between the wire and the overcurrent protection. In the end, over fused circuits may cause fires and result in you failing a home inspection.

Rotting Wood: Any wood used in a home's construction can be affected by moisture and age. This includes wooden decks and door frames. Inspectors will inspect wood surfaces in the home for rot.

Security Issues: This is not about your security system; this part of an inspection is about checking more basic safety features. An inspector looks for the best window and door locks, as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These problems if found not working can cause you to fail a home inspection.

Problems with the Structure and/or Foundation: Quality construction means a stable foundation which is key to a home’s structure. The inspector checks out the footings and foundation of the home. Some signs of foundation problems often include cracks in walls and doors that don’t properly latch or that stick or jam up.

Plumbing Problems: It's usually unlikely for an inspector to not find at least one plumbing problem. Plumbing issues may include dripping faucets and/or slow drains. Luckily, plumbing is simple and inexpensive to fix. However, bigger issues may mean more money and more extensive repairs and result in you failing a home inspection.

More Ways to Fail a Home Inspection

Poor Masonry: Chimney cracks are a common masonry problem found during a home inspection. Usually, these occur over time because of weather conditions. If an inspector finds cracks beginning at a chimney's base and moving upward, there could be a major structural problem in the home and cause you to fail a home inspection.

Options If You Fail a Home Inspection

Don’t fret too much about a failed home inspection since just about any problem can be fixed. Mold can be removed and a professional and qualified electrician can remove and replace bad wiring.

Typically, the best option for a seller who has any of these above problems found by an inspector is to get them all repaired. Another option is to not fix the issues and to sell the home at a lower price after you have found you failed the home inspection.

Sometimes, however, the problem with selling a home at a lower price and skipping the repairs is that the seller may end up discounting the home for more than the cost of repairing the problems. Also, the potential homebuyer might not want to invest in a property that will need immediate repairs.

Whatever you decide always remember a home inspection is the best way you can learn if the home you have fallen in love with has any underlying issues that you didn’t see the first time around when touring.

Look For Another Home

If the home does cause you to fail a home inspection and you opt to have the problems fixed, just know what you are up against.

Or, if you aren’t comfortable with these options and after learning you have failed a home inspection, it may be time to start looking for another house where everything is in perfect working order – give or take a few issues that can be easily remedied.

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