Home Inspection Nightmares To Avoid

Q: Gerald, we’re in the middle of buying a house and recently got a very long, detailed home inspection report. We really like the property but aren’t sure which items we should ask the seller to take care of. Can you give us some advice on the most important items in the inspection report we should focus on?

A: That’s a good question. To make things easy for you, it’s useful to distinguish between the items in the inspection report that are cosmetic versus potentially serious. Home inspectors often include cosmetic items in the inspection reports so that the reports are longer, have more pages and look to be more thorough than they really are. So, cosmetic items include suggestions like, “this wall needs to be painted” or “the grass in the yard needs to be trimmed”—these things are obvious to anyone. The more serious potential issues that you should be concerned with revolve around 2 areas: 1) structural 2) environmental; structural & environmental problems can be very serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Potential structural problems include foundation cracks and environmental problems may result from contamination from a leaking underground oil tank or a property’s close proximity to a gas station or dry cleaners, where hazardous chemicals are often used. So to recap, cosmetic issues, not a big deal, structural or environmental problems are potentially very serious. Thanks for your question, Meghan & Jay, good luck. For more real estate tips and for information on my real estate coaching program, visit I’m Gerald Lucas and I’ll see you again soon.