Homebuyers, Don’t Panic: What to Do When the Home Inspection Goes Awry


You’ve finally done it. You bought your dream home.

You’re waiting with anticipation for move-in day. But first, you have to get through a few hurdles, including the inspection.

It starts out seamlessly but quickly turns the corner. There’s a surprising problem with the house that nobody expected. Whether it’s a deal-breaker or a game-changer, don’t worry. You can handle it and come out of the fray with barely a scratch.

What to Do When the Home Inspection Problem Is Deal-Breaking

If you discover a deal-breaker about the house, you obviously need to walk away. Some examples of deal-breakers might include needing an entirely new foundation, extensive pest damage that was hidden, or having to replace the roof.

These are repairs you were not anticipating – but neither were the homeowners. As such, backing out is totally warranted. Do it gracefully, and keep your chin up. Your dream house is out there, you just need to get through this test of patience.

What to Do When You’re Not Sure

Discovering an immediate deal-breaker is the easy side of a bad home inspection, unfortunately. However, sometimes the inspection can reveal issues that are iffy, but not necessarily walk away worthy.

In these instances, you need to take a step back and go over your options carefully. This starts with gathering information. If you need more time, get your realtor to request a longer objection period or contingency.

Assess the Situation

Think about how much work you’re willing to do yourself after closing. How much time/money/effort can you put into the problem, if any?

Get Competitive Quotes for Repairs

Get quotes for the work that needs doing from a few contractors – at least three. This will help you assess your own cost out-of-pocket. It will also help when renegotiating with the sellers.

Renegotiate, but Be Careful

Approach the sellers about renegotiating based on what you’ve learned. You can ask them to resolve the issues outright, but they might balk. Or, they could do some of the repairs, give you a credit to reduce the asking price, or even offer a closing cost credit.

Make Sure You’re Satisfied Before Moving Forward

If you can’t come to a satisfying solution, or if the sellers won’t budge enough to help mitigate the problems, you can still walk away at this point. On the other hand, if you are satisfied with the final terms, go for it. The point is you shouldn’t have to over-compromise.

With a Bad Home Inspection, Make Lemonade out of Lemons

A bad home inspection isn’t the end of the world, though it may seem like it. This is especially true if you had your heart set on a particular home.

Of course, the key to staying afloat in situations like these is rolling with whatever happens. Adapt to the situation, assess what you can do, and do your homework about costs. If you’ve done all you can but the sellers won’t budge, or the repairs end up being too much, moving on is smart, not sad.