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What Fixes Are Mandatory After a Home Inspection?

Home Inspector

Getting a bad report back from a home inspection can be gut-wrenching. Not only can your home have issues that need to be addressed, but these repairs and fixes can also be expensive and time-consuming. One of the first questions people will ask themselves after getting their home inspection report back with issues listed is whether or not these fixes are mandatory.

Most people do not seek out home inspections for no reason. Many times, a home inspection is being conducted in connection to something else. Whether or not home fixes after an inspection are necessary depends on the reason for the initial inspection as well as contingency agreements surrounding these reasons.

There are three main reasons someone would order a home inspection, and the obligation to carry out repairs will depend on each circumstance.

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Conducting a Home Inspection For The Sale of a Home

Home Inspector
Image By: Valmedia, Shutterstock

One of the most common reasons for having a home inspection done is in connection with the sale of a home. Buyers will request a home inspection before closing to ensure that there are no major issues with the home before the sale goes through. Likewise, some mortgage companies will require a home inspection for similar reasons. If a home inspection turns up issues during contract negotiations between a buyer and seller, fixes might need to be made in order to save the sale of the house.

For example, if an inspection turns up damage in the roof that requires repairs, the buyer is likely going to ask for money for the repairs before the house is sold. Does that make the fixes mandatory? Not exactly. If you want to sell the home, it will be required, but no one will make you fix your roof. The buyer can simply walk away if they don’t like the home inspection.

Similarly, if a mortgage provider does not like the results of a home inspection, they might threaten to withhold the mortgage from the potential buyer. Again, no one is going to make you fix the roof, but you might not be able to sell the home as easily as if you go ahead with the repairs.

Conducting a Home Inspection For Home Insurance

Home insurance is another service that often requires a home inspection. Insurance providers will inspect homes before offering coverage and periodically afterward to ensure that no major changes have occurred to the property that would change the insurance policy. In one of our own homes, an insurance company found old, corrugated piping in one section of the home. The company said that rates would be higher if the owner did not replace the pipes with more modern fixtures. They did not require the change, but they suggested it was in the owner’s best interest to make them.

In some cases, an insurance company might modify or cancel your policy if they turn up something in an inspection that they do not like. They might also deny coverage if you are looking for a new policy. However, they cannot compel you to make changes to your home that you cannot afford or do not want to do. But coverage might be contingent on certain changes.

Home Inspector
Image Credit: Olivier Le Queinec, Shutterstock

Conducting Municipality Inspections

Sometimes you will be inspected by a jurisdiction that you live in. Municipality inspections can include inspections by the city, county, or homeowner’s association that you are a part of. These inspections often target external factors of a home such as a roof, paint, or fencing. If these inspections come back with recommendations, they could be accompanied by a penalty such as a fine if they are not completed. In extreme cases, some recommended fixes will incur a lien on the home if they are not completed. These inspections can turn up things that could be considered mandatory by your local jurisdiction depending on the offense, but you could theoretically simply pay the fine or accept the lien rather than make the changes.

Conducting Home Inspections For The Homeowner

There are types of inspections that a homeowner orders on their own that are not connected to any particular contract or agreement. These kinds of inspections include termite inspections, electrical panel inspections, and lead paint inspections. These types of services are often rendered in tandem with another job. Pest control might look for termites. Your plumber might test for lead paint. And so on. These kinds of inspections are largely done to help better educate a homeowner when a job is already being done that could potentially turn up unknown issues.

None of these kinds of inspections warrant any mandatory fixes.

Fixes That Are Mandatory

There are very rare and extreme cases in which fixes are 100% mandatory. Those fixes include ones demanded by a jurisdiction that, if ignored, can lead to the house being condemned. A condemned building is illegal to occupy, and it will force people to permanently leave their homes with no compensation. These cases are extremely rare and deal with severe neglect, filth, and damage. There are cases where the city will inspect a home and deem it uninhabitable. In this case, fixes will be mandatory.

Related Read: 20 Essential Home Inspection Tools: Different Types & Their Uses

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At the end of the day, the vast majority of fixes recommended after a home inspection are not mandatory. A homeowner cannot be compelled to do work on their house except for in extreme circumstances. In many cases, fixes may be requested, and their completion could be contingent on other deals, contracts, or agreements that are pending. Still, even then, they are not mandatory as long as you are okay with possibly losing the contract in question. Home inspections are done for the benefit of the homeowner to educate them and alert them to potential problems brewing in their investment, but they rarely call for mandatory changes.

Featured Image Credit: Sean Locke Photography, Shutterstock


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