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Survey: 86% of Home Inspectors Find at Least One Problem

1 in 5 problems center on the roof, and some focus on cosmetic flaws. Electrical problems were one of the most concerning for buyers since they can pose a fire risk, and some type of window problem appeared in more than 18% of reports.

NEW YORK – Very few home inspections ever come back completely clear, and of the 88% of buyers who opted to have a home inspection in a recent sale, 86% said their inspector identified at least one problem. The survey, conducted by, reached about 1,000 buyers who had hired a home inspector.

Some of the most common issues uncovered threatened the essential components of a home too. In a fifth of the cases, the home’s roof was a major culprit. Other issues included cosmetic flaws, but also more serious cracks and leaks were found, according to the survey. Electrical problems also were common, and among the most concerning, since they can pose a fire risk, according to the study. Problems with windows also were prevalent, appearing in more than 18% of reports that had issues detected.

In nearly half of discovered problems, buyers and their agents negotiated a lower final sales price, the survey found, with the new lower sales price a negotiation based on the cost of the repair or replacement.

Many buyers said their lender required a home inspection as part of their mortgage qualification, and the average inspection fee paid was $377. Many homebuyers said they found their inspector through a recommendation from their real estate agent.

Most of the time (80%), the buyers paid for the home inspection, but in 19% of cases, the seller paid, and in 1% of the cases “someone else” paid.

Problems found during a home inspection

  • 86%: Inspections that discovered some kind of problem
  • 19.7%: Roofing
  • 18.7%: Electrical
  • 18.4%: Windows
  • 16.9%: Gutters
  • 13.6%: Plumbing
  • 13.3%: Branches overhanging the roof
  • 12.6%: Fencing
  • 12.2%: Water heater
  • 11.9%: Driveways, sidewalks, patios and/or entrance landing
  • 9.9%: Air conditioning
  • 9.6%: Exterior paint
  • 8.9%: Foundation issues/cracks
  • 8.9%: Downspouts
  • 8.8%: Property grading of grounds
  • 8.5%: Moisture

Average negotiated savings after inspection-discovered problems

  • $1,250: Heater
  • $1,000: Roof
  • $500: Foundation issues/cracks
  • $500: Air conditioning
  • $500: Water heater
  • $450: Chimney
  • $350: Condition of a detached garage
  • $350: Insulation
  • $450: Cracks in stucco
  • $383: Windows
  • $275: Insect damage
  • $225: Fencing
  • $200: Electrical
  • $200: Plumbing
  • $200: Exterior paint

Source: “Home Inspection Leverage,” (July 2019)

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