Home Inspection Deal Breakers: When to Walk Away from Buying a House

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Fixing a leak (Photo: @mulihelfman via Twenty20)
Buying a home is one of the greatest feelings. It’s likely something you’ve saved up for for a long time, and dreamed of for an even longer time. And it’s not something that everyone gets to experience. So, when the time comes to finally buy your very own home, it’s natural to be brimming with excitement.
But there are some hoops that first need to be jumped through. And one of them is dealing with a home inspection. Once you’ve put in an offer on a home, it’s important to have a home inspection from a professional. The purpose of a home inspection is to identify any elements of the home that aren’t in the condition that was advertised by the seller.
Usually, if the home inspection yields anything of note, you’ll want to negotiate with the seller on either a new price for the home, or on repairs that you want them to take care of.
Occasionally, however, you’ll run into true deal breakers that should leave you rescinding your offer, and looking for a new home to buy. Here are some of the top home inspection deal breakers.

1. A roof that needs replacing

There are few elements of a home that are as costly to replace as a roof. Replacing a roof usually costs tens of thousands of dollars. But if you don’t replace a roof that’s in bad shape, it will cost even more money in damages to the house.
If the home needs a new roof, it’s likely time to pull your offer. Unless the seller is willing to replace the roof while keeping the same price, which is unlikely, you’ll just be left with a bad deal on your hands.

2. Pests or termites

The problem with a serious pest infestation (or worse yet, termites) is that they can’t easily be handled. Unless the seller will shell out for a large scale extermination, you’ll be left with a recurring issue that simply won’t go away.

3. Backwards remodeling

Many homes advertise that they’ve been remodeled, and are marked up accordingly. But often those remodeling jobs actually diminish the quality of the home. If a house has been remodeled in a way that only created more issues, run away.

4. Issues with the foundation

Simply put, there’s no easy way to fix a foundation that has problems. If there are issues with the foundation, you’ll likely have ongoing issues until you demolish the home and start over. That’s probably not what you envisioned when you put in an offer.

5. Water intrusion

Similarly, there’s not really much you can do about water intrusion. It’s usually just a sign of a poorly built home, a grading problem, or building on the wrong plot of land. You’re in for a long and fruitless battle, so move on to a new home.

6. Presence of asbestos, lead-based paint, or other harmful chemicals

It goes without saying that you don’t want your home to be a health hazard. But if there’s asbestos, lead-based paint, or any other harmful chemicals, that’s exactly what it will be. You can always find a new home, but you can’t find a new life, so stay away from these homes.

7. Bad water quality

Bad water quality might not seem like a big deal, but it’s an incredibly expensive problem to fix, and it’s an issue that you’ll grow very tired of very quickly. It’s best to just start somewhere with good water.

8. Severe mold

Severe mold issues are a total hassle that are nearly impossible to get rid of. On top of that, they can cause health issues and discomfort.
If you find these red flags in a home inspection, you should give a good long thought to rescinding your offer, and searching for a new home.