Inspections, tire-kicking, and taking other precautionary measures might seem like overkill, but they’re all part of being a smart shopper — and are more than necessary when you’re preparing to take out a home loan to finance your purchase. Home inspections are an extremely valuable tool for home buyers to know exactly what their dollar is getting them, but also for sellers to know what their home is (or isn’t worth) and for what reasons. Considering that some of these inspections are only done every time a home is sold, or every decade in the case of the most proactive homeowners, the average cost of repairs after home inspection can be through the roof.
Because these repairs can be so substantial, they make for a powerful bargaining chip for both sellers and buyers. Let’s say a professional inspection uncovers a faulty water heater. A potential buyer may be able to negotiate the asking price down a few thousand dollars, or negotiate a new water heater into the deal. On the other hand, if a thorough inspection reveals that the seller replaced the home’s roof in the last year, the asking price gets that much more firm — assuming there are no red flags elsewhere on the home inspection report.
Whether you’re buying a home, selling your existing home, or just want to be prepared for when the time comes, Truehold has compiled this guide to home inspections and repairs. Keep reading to make sure you know the average cost of repairs after home inspection, as well as the best ways to make the costs of these requested repairs fit your budget.
Whereas a professional home appraiser’s role is to determine the true market value of a home, certified home inspectors are responsible for determining a property’s safety and overall condition. Generally, a potential buyer will arrange (and pay for) a home inspection, where the home’s electrical, plumbing, sewage, heating, and cooling systems will be tested. A home inspection will also see elements of the home’s foundation and structure be evaluated, in addition to various safety features. If you are wondering, how long do home inspections take, they vary depending on these several factors.
Home inspectors don’t “work” for either party — rather, they’re there to report honestly on any water, fire, or insect damage that may have an impact on the home’s asking price. With today’s unprecedented housing market, many home sellers are giving preference to buyers who are willing to waive the inspection altogether. However, as we’ll explain below, agreeing to these terms could prove to be a costly (and potentially fatal) mistake.
So, what fixes are mandatory after a home inspection? The short answer: none of them. With that said, potential hazards revealed in a home inspection should be addressed for the safety of home buyers and the seller’s own peace of mind. These repairs might not be “mandatory” in the eyes of the law, but they are strongly suggested — and include things like mold, water damage, pest infestations, code violations, and trip, chemical, or fire hazards.
Though the law might not deem these repairs mandatory, it is well within the rights of a mortgage lender or insurance company to deny financing and/or coverage for homes that have not had serious repairs tended to. As a rule of thumb: If an insurer won’t cover the property and a lender won’t provide a loan, the average cost of repairs after home inspection will more often than not be extensive. With that in mind, if one buyer is unable to get coverage based on the condition of a property, there’s a good chance all buyers will encounter this same problem — and the responsibility for the costs of these repairs will fall on the seller.
The list below is far from comprehensive — and different homes may encounter their own unique problems — but many home inspections tend to reveal these same issues. Some repairs are more pressing (and pricey) than others, but all should be taken care of before transferring ownership from one party to another.
One of the reasons why water damage is such a common repair request is that there are many different places in a home that can experience water damage, and even the smallest leak can cause huge problems. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), nearly 30% of home insurance claims are in regards to water damage. Further, an eye-watering 98% of basements have been impacted by water damage according to the same research.1
If a leaky faucet or drain is caught early enough, the average cost of repairs after home inspection shouldn’t exceed $450. However, if the issue impacts pipes or leads to extensive water damage, the repair cost can range from $1,500 to well over $10,000. In fact, the III lists the average insurance claim for water damage at $11,600. Should home buyers forgo a home inspection and water damage go undetected, there’s no telling the impact that even something as small as a leaky faucet can have on a structure.
Much like water damage, electrical system problems are one of the more common requested repairs revealed during a home inspection. Unlike water damage, however, electrical issues don’t take decades to wreak havoc on a structure — they can turn into a serious hazard at any moment. Problems revealed during a thorough inspection can range from simple and inexpensive (like replacing damaged or faulty ground fault circuit interceptor (GFCI) outlets) to complete wiring overhauls which can cost upwards of $10,000.
Considering how much electrical standards have changed over the last 100 years, many older homes may have wiring that does not meet current codes. If the home you’re having inspected is older, it might be wise to have a professional electrician inspect the property as well. Outdated wiring and control panels may be common, but they’re no less dangerous; these electrical issues can pose a serious fire risk and account for a large portion of at-home fire deaths.2
A damaged roof might not pose the same threat to homeowners that faulty wiring or water damage do, but aging roofs have one of the highest average costs of repairs after home inspection out of any of the issues on our list. Roofs can last anywhere from 20 to 50+ years — longer than some home loans — yet the high repair cost means that many homeowners will fail to replace their roofs on time.
With that said, all roof damage does not warrant a replacement. If a home inspection reveals that the roof flashing is in need of repair or there are a few shingles which will need to be replaced, the average cost of repair after home inspection should be less than $1,500. However, installing an entirely new roof could cost upwards of $30,000. Even if a roof is structurally and aesthetically in good shape, potential buyers should be sure to find out when the roof was last replaced in order to anticipate upcoming repair costs. If an inspection shows that a roof replacement is imminent, but not urgent, this may create room for some price negotiation.
As we mentioned in our home maintenance checklist, improper drainage can be a major pain in the neck for homeowners. Be it due to the grading of a yard funneling water toward the home or lack of an effective drainage system, improper drainage is one of the most common issues detected on a home inspection report — with nearly 36% of inspected homes being impacted by subpar drainage according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI).3
Improper drainage isn’t just an annoyance, and lingering pools of water in a yard following a rainstorm can be a sign of significant damage to come. When water can’t drain, or drains toward the home’s foundation, it can erode the underlying structure over time. Therefore, this is an issue which should not be ignored if detected during a home inspection. The good news is proactive repairs like replacing a sump pump or installing a vapor barrier are relatively inexpensive when compared to the costs affiliated with repairing structural damage, allowing buyers and homeowners to prevent potential damage without breaking the bank. Should a home inspection reveal drainage issues but no damage, the average cost of repairs after home inspection will likely hover around $2,000-$6,000 depending on the severity.
The last common problem on our list is one that can be minor, but can also be extremely severe. Whereas exterior damage — like damaged siding, broken or uneven concrete pavers, and eroding caulk — are no major cause for concern, an uneven foundation or large cracks can be detrimental. Typically the latter is found in older homes which have not been properly maintained, leading the home to shift and settle as the years tick on. A structural issue does not occur on its own, and is likely emblematic of other issues on this list; those costs should also be factored in when evaluating the average cost of repairs after a home inspection.
If a home inspection reveals only exterior damage, costs should not exceed $1,000. However, if the home’s structure has been damaged due to neglect, the repair bill can easily exceed $40-50,000. This may be seen as an opportunity to negotiate the home’s total price to some buyers, but signing on for repairs of this stature can be a major financial misstep. And, as we mentioned earlier, many insurers and lenders won’t go near a home that they feel is structurally unsound.
While it is unlikely that a home inspection would reveal all of the above problems, even the burden of a single one can have a significant impact on a home buyer’s financial future.
The average home inspection cost will vary depending on location and the size of the home, but potential home buyers can expect to spend as much as $400 on an inspection.4 Again, this is an out-of-pocket fee for buyers and is not the responsibility of a seller, but it is a worthwhile investment considering the potential expenses outlined above. Without a thorough home inspection, home buyers may unwittingly sign themselves up for thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars in repairs, so a pre-purchase home inspection is nothing short of essential.
If you’ve had your dream home inspected and the above problems came up, don’t panic. Sure, the potential price tag on a new roof may seem daunting, but there are a few ways to make this expense fit your budget.
While expecting the unexpected is easier said than done, this tactic can be extremely helpful to those looking for a new home. Once you’ve established your new price ceiling, factor in some of the above expenses to create your total budget. That way, if you find your forever home and it’s got a few flaws that need tending to, you’re not priced out of your dreams.
If you’ve already bought a home that is in need of repair, start by creating a checklist of every issue outlined during the inspection. This list should range from most urgent (water, structural, or electrical damage) to least urgent (cosmetic, a roof that has not exceeded its sell-by date) and should include detailed price breakdowns of each. From there, you can create a plan of attack to check repairs off your list — improving your new home’s value with each one.
Certified home inspectors will give you a detailed report of what needs to be replaced and why, but they will not provide you with price estimates. When budgeting for necessary repairs, be sure to collect estimates from several professionals in your area — ensuring that the quoted prices are fair, reasonable, and standard. Cheaper is rarely better when it comes to repairs to your home, but being a “smart shopper” may prevent you from being overcharged and going over budget.
By no means do we encourage you to put your personal safety on the line for some savings — and a lower price does not justify buying a home riddled with mold or fire hazards — but there are certain repairs that may play to your advantage if found during an inspection. As we mentioned above, a roof that is not in urgent need of repair but will need to be replaced in a few years can help to knock a few thousand dollars off the home’s price tag, as can a flood-prone lawn that has not yet led to water or structural damage. If this is your strategy, note that you are only prolonging the inevitable; the outlined repairs should remain top-of-mind.
Buying a new home is a major investment, and a home inspection is key to protecting your purchase, your sanity, and your safety. Without an inspection, you could be unknowingly signing on to decades of costly repairs — turning your home into less of an asset and more of a liability.
To learn more about budgeting for home repairs, creating your ultimate home maintenance checklist, or eliminating the burden of repairs altogether, schedule a call with one of Truehold’s advisors to learn more about our Sale-Leaseback.
1. Insurance Information Institute. Facts + Statistics: Homeowners and renters insurance. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance
2. Great American Insurance Group. Is Your Electric Panel a Fire Risk? https://www.greatamericaninsurancegroup.com/content-hub/news-details/is-your-electric-panel-a-fire-risk
3. American Society of Home Inspectors. https://www.homeinspector.org/
4. Bankrate. How much does a home inspection cost? https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/how-much-does-home-inspection-cost/