The home inspection report may be the cause of terminating the purchase of a home based on the issues that are revealed in the home inspection report. Here’s a true story in the life of a couple who retained me as their Sequim Buyer’s Agent. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Home Inspection Surprise

home inspection

Home Inspection Results in Termination

After months of searching for the ideal home, my clients thought they found it. We got it under contract, although the seller was unusually stubborn about the price and insisted on keeping the listed price well above it’s true fair market value (in my humble opinion), and we had to go back and forth in some intense negotiations, ultimately settling on a price that both my buyers and I thought was still above fair market value. But my clients wanted to move forward, because the kind of home they wanted was hard to find in the current inventory.

I met with my buyers and the inspector on the appointed day, and immediately several issues were apparent at the home inspection. The siding, which looked good generally and was painted not long ago, was rotting in many little places, and it turns out this is defective LP siding. The fix is not just replacing some of the obvious rotting siding. All the siding will have to be torn off and replaced with new siding and then primed and painted. That’s no small task, and it would take a chunk of change. 

Second, the composition roofing, while not in dire condition needing immediate replacement, would most likely need to be replaced in the next 5 years. That would cost $14,000 to $18,000.

Third, there was residue of cigarette smoke inside the home. It was slight, but you could smell it, and prior to us arriving for the home inspection, the owner’s friend had opened all the windows, the doors, and the garage door, which was unusual, but made sense if you were trying to cover up the cigarette smoke inside the house. My buyers abhor the stale smell of cigarette smoke. Cleaning that up can cost thousands of dollars, because a special cleaner has to be applied on all the walls and the ceiling, and then all repainted. In addition, all carpet in the house has to be replaced. Again, a lot of work and expense.

Fourth, there was only one tiny electric wall heater in the main front room, which made up the living room, dining room, and kitchen, and there was no heater in the master bedroom. The owners had done a decent remodel of the home recently, but the lack of heat is a serious issue. There were other minor issues, but bothersome. For example, the ceiling was painted white and the dining room walls were painted a dark color but where the two colors came together at the ceiling, the line was a sloppy mess. It’s strange that someone, anyone, would do such a sloppy paint job so visible to everyone. Perhaps that’s minor, but it was so blatant and you have to fix it, because you’re looking at it every day.

Fifth, there was a quarter inch hole in the thick private well pipe at the well head. That hole must have been in that pipe since it was installed, because there is no likely way that anyone could cut a hole in such thick pipe since then. Why would you even if you had a cutting tool to do that? The well head must be completely sealed or bacteria can get in the water. The hole was large enough for ants and other small insects to crawl inside. Not good. I had a well once that had a tiny gap at the well head not even noticeable, but tiny ants crawled in by the hundreds, and ants started showing up in the bath water. We had to have the well shocked with chlorine crystals and reseal the well head.

While I do not question the seller’s honesty at all, the seller had put lipstick on a pig, and it was through the home inspection that we were able to clearly see that this makeover just didn’t solve the underlying serious issues. The lipstick had covered them up almost entirely, but not when the home inspector did his examination.

BTW, these serious issues made this home worth substantially less than the seller had listed it for, and less than the amount of the agreed selling price. I cannot express to you as a buyer how critical it is that you hire a good home inspector, and that’s not enough. You also need a Sequim Buyer’s Agent who is knowledgeable enough and loyal to you so that he can give you the best advice following the home inspection report. Learn more and be better prepared when you buyer you home by reading from our inventory of 20 more articles about the Home Inspection.

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