The hot seller’s market has caused many buyers to waive inspections when making competitive offers. Bidding wars are commonplace, and so are home inspection contingency waivers. According to Redfin, the percentage of homebuyers waiving the inspection nearly doubled during the pandemic, swelling from 7.3% to 13.2%.

But it’s never too late for a home inspection.

When performed by a trained, qualified and experienced inspector, a home inspection allows for a non-biased, third-party evaluation of the property that provides an in-depth factual evaluation. Additionally, it is an educational experience from learning about where the shut of valve is for the water main to how to change your HVAC filter.

The current real estate market has forced many buyers to waive a home inspection just to gain a ratified contract. Most realtors will recommend that a potential buyer have a home inspection for their own protection. However, this current seller’s market is causing buyers to waive all inspections to just have their offer considered.

Not having the home evaluated by a professional home inspection company can bring unexpected surprises and expenses after the purchase that the buyer was not counting on. Here are some of the expensive and common problems that come up during the inspection process:

Poor drainage and grade sloping – Improperly installed, damaged or missing gutters and downspouts can lead to water and moisture issues in the house. If the ground surrounding the house is not graded properly, water will not drain correctly. This can lead to leaks and cracks in the foundations, basement walls, and even lead to foundation movement. Moisture in the basement can also lead to mold growth.

Rotting wood – Walking around the exterior of the home and evaluating wood trim is an important part of a home inspection. We will check around exterior doors, jambs, windows, decks, sliders, and exterior stairs. Rotted trim and/or siding penetrations can allow water to enter the home. This can cause further damage to the structure as well as give opportunity for mold to grow. Holes can also allow vermin into the house. Squirrels can create quite a mess in the house.

Roof issues – Roofs are designed to protect everything under it. Were the shingles installed properly? Are the shingles old and coming to the end of their typical service life? Are there too many layers? Brittle or curled shingles can blow off in a storm allowing water to infiltrate the home. An experienced home inspector can closely identify the approximate age of the roof and make recommendations. Depending on the size of the roof, replacement can be an expensive repair. Including materials and labor, a roof costs an average of $8,764, according to HomeAdvisor.

Electrical problems – besides providing power to the property, safety related to electricity is critical. Every year, over 50,000 home fires started because of unsafe electrical issues such as frayed insulation, Do-It-Yourself wiring, mismatched wires, and missing or faulty GFCI’s. Some houses still have aluminum wiring that was used in the 1960s and 1970s. Occasionally, we even see some old knob/tube wiring, old fuse boxes, exposed wiring, and illegal wiring not up to code. Many homeowners are not aware of the hidden dangers related to faulty electrical systems. In addition to serious safety concerns, bad wiring can be very expensive to repair by a qualified electrician.

Plumbing problems – Failed seals on toilets, leaks in plumbing joints, older/worn plumbing fixtures, are evaluated whenever visible throughout the house. The average purchaser of a home may not know if it has problematic polybutylene piping or older galvanized steel lines. A good home inspector will point out these and other issues on the inspection noting that some of these issues can be costly to repair or replace.

Heating systems – Here in Maryland, a working heat source is a requirement when getting a mortgage. We will check to make sure that the heating system, be it electric, gas or oil is heating within proper tolerances and that there are vents in every habitable room. We have seen some NEW construction with vents installed, but no heat coming out. The age of the heating system can be a concern also. The typical service life for a gas furnace might be 20 – 25 years depending on how it was serviced. An oil burning furnace might last 35 to 50 years. Both are also very expensive to replace.

Air conditioning – Air conditioning systems are also costly to repair or replace. We will evaluate the overall condition of the system and check to make sure that it is operating within proper cooling tolerances. Depending on the size of the house and configuration of the system, a new AC system can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. It’s always a good practice to have your HVAC system serviced regularly, which can cost between $75-$200, according to HomeAdvisor.

Decks – Most decks are designed and constructed by professionals. Some decks, however, are constructed by weekend warriors who may not know exactly what they are doing. Our inspectors will inspect the foundation supports, joists, stairs, flooring, railings and the band board to see how it is tied into the house. Note that wooden decks are not built to last forever. Decks approaching 15 to 20 years old should be inspected by a professional. The average cost to replace a deck is $7720 according to HomeAdvisor. The cost of someone getting hurt due to a fallen deck is immeasurable.

At Highland Home Inspections, we check all the house systems such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and evaluate the structural components, exterior, roof, and much, much more and provide a comprehensive report of our observations. Reports are typically sent within 24 hours of the inspection to you and your agent.

As a buyer you want to know that you are not getting something less than the value you are paying for and that you don’t end up with a lot of expenses you were not counting on.


As a realtor, you have an obligation to protect your client from expensive and hazardous purchases. Let us help you find the right house.