First, an important clarification: a property cannot fail a home inspection. It’s not a pass/fail test. The process is simply an examination of the house’s overall condition, with a report on what might need repair or replacement.

The inspection can vary by inspector, and can often lead to different interpretations, depending on who is buying and who is selling. That’s why it’s best for you to be involved in the inspection process, and offer advice and navigation should conflicts arise. You can click here to learn more about how agents can make the most of home inspections.

Prepare your clients: a few defects are always going to be found. Practically no house is perfect. Most buyers will still consider homes that have even a few defects. Also, as you know, everything is negotiable.

With that said, buyers could also be easily disappointed. They may have harbored unrealistic expectations when finally finding the house of their dreams, and the slightest imperfection could sour the dream for them. You may want to advise your buyer that most sellers will not fix everything, nor are they expected to. That’s where negotiation comes in. It would be unfortunate for your buyer to walk away from a great house over an issue that can be negotiated.

Usually, what is considered off the table are major fixes, like roofs, structural problems, or termites. The cost of repair for large concerns like these may not be worth the purchase. Everything else may be fair game.

The top home inspection deal breakers, according to Nationwide Insurance: asbestos, electrical/plumbing problems, foundation issues, lead paint, mold, old roof, pests, and water damage.

Other issues, according to realtor.com: aluminum wiring, buried oil tanks, polybutylene plumbing pipes, and upgrades without permits.

The ultimate deal breaker could be a matter of trust. Buyers may believe — even wrongly — that the seller is not disclosing certain issues and problems. For the seller, the issue in question could have simply been forgotten over time, but it has now come back to haunt him as the buyer thinks it’s being covered up.

Often times, an inspection that could lead to a deal breaker depends on what the seller or buyer can afford to fix. Other than financial concerns, the decision could be based on the time it would take to fix or how it would affect the residents in the house.


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