Buying a Home: The Missing Manual lists the most common problems and issues identified by home inspections as follows:
- Improper surface grading and drainage.
- Improper and undersized electrical wiring.
- Older and damaged roofs.
- Deficient and older heating systems.
- Poor overall maintenance.
- Structural problems.
- Plumbing problems.
- Exterior items.
- Poor ventilation.
Maybe I'm always looking at great homes or I've only used weak home inspectors, but I've never had one identify anything very major. Sure, there have been tons of small "fix this" and "replace that" suggestions, but nothing like "the wiring in the home needs to be replaced" or "the roof is ready to cave in." Then again, maybe these occur infrequently (just because they are the most common, doesn't mean they happen regularly.) Maybe a home inspection is like insurance -- you pay for it though you rarely need/use it (and hope you don't have to.)
And just to clarify, I'm talking about a general home inspector. We did have a specialized inspector check the water in a private well once and it came back high in chemicals that we didn't want to drink. That simple inspection (that the seller had to pay for, BTW) saved us a ton of money -- and kept us from buying a home in retrospect that we really didn't want/need.
How about you? Have any of you ever had a home inspector come up with something significant that either saved you a ton of money (the seller had to pay to fix it) or kept you from buying a house that wasn't up to snuff?