Inspections turn up interesting things. You might discover that there is an extra bedroom that isn’t exactly on the city records or a colony of termites have been happily helping themselves to the rafters. For situations like that, there is an inspection objection.

What is an inspection objection?

Getting a home inspection is a big deal when buying a house. The inspection is for determining the condition of the property and makes sure that the property is free from safety issues and ready to move in.

When the buyer gets an inspection on the property, the inspector submits their inspection report that details the physical description of the house. If there are things on the inspector’s report that the potential buyer is not ok with, they’ll have their real estate agent submit an inspection objection before the objection deadline.

The inspection objection outlines issues with the property and requests that the seller either fix the issues or lower their price accordingly. If neither party accepts the terms, then the buyer can back out and still keep their earnest money.

Common Inspection Objections

While it’s not uncommon for buyers to have objections to the condition of a used house, experienced real estate agents often know which objections to make and which to leave off the report. If your real estate agent doesn’t advise you on this, consider getting a new real estate agent.

Colorado Inspection Objection

The Colorado inspection objection clause specifically states, ” Unless otherwise provided in this Contract, Buyer acknowledges that Seller is conveying the Property to Buyer in an as-is condition, where is and with all faults. Colorado law requires that Seller discloses to Buyer any latent defects actually known by Seller. Disclosure of latent defects must be in writing. Buyer, acting in good faith, has the right to have inspections (by one or more third parties, personally or both) of the Property and Inclusions (Inspection), at Buyers expense.

If (1) the physical condition of the Property, including, but not limited to, the roof, walls, structural integrity of the Property, the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and other mechanical systems of the Property, (2) the physical condition of the Inclusions, (3) service to the Property (including utilities and communication services), systems and components of the Property (e.g., heating and plumbing), (4) any proposed or existing transportation project, road, street or highway, or (5) any other activity, odor or noise (whether on or off the Property) and its effect or expected effect on the Property or its occupants is unsatisfactory, in Buyers sole subjective discretion, Buyer may, on or before Inspection Objection Deadline (SS 3).”

These repairs typically fall into three categories.

Repair/Replace

When we talk about things that need repair or replacing, we aren’t talking about those unsightly cosmetic touch-ups. Wall scuffs, dings on the door jam, and a dent in the countertop may not be the thing you want in your new-to-you house, but they are items you could plainly see without an inspection before making an offer on the house.

The inspection period is not a time to gather up line items to negotiate with, it’s to see if the house is in nice enough shape to live in. Some things an inspection may turn up that need fixing or replacement are:

HVAC System

If it is outdated to the point of disrepair or dysfunctional, the HVAC system is one thing that goes on the inspection objection. It not only controls the comfort of the home, it also provides a heat source in the winter. Beyond that, neglected electrical and gas issues can cause big issues or harm to yourself or the property.

Roof

The roof is a common item on the inspection objection. If the roof is leaking, causing mold and water damage, or is sagging in areas, it should be an area of concern for you as a home buyer. Beyond the potentially thousands of dollars in damage it can do to the property, it’s a large expense to repair right after buying a home.

Plumbing and Electrical Issues

If the building is not up to current code, that is probably not something the seller will cover. If there are any extensive plumbing or electrical issues that need repair (such as rodents chewing through the wires), then that is something the seller might be willing to negotiate on.

Mitigate-Hazardous Conditions

There are a few things that inspections can turn up that are more than unsightly—they’re deadly. Putting these on your inspection objection is perfectly acceptable and could be grounds for some serious negotiation.

Radon

This harmful gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer, according to the Surgeon General. Radon occurs when the soil, rock, and water naturally break down, releasing uranium gasses. Radon is odorless, tasteless, and you can’t even see it.

Homes of any age, building type, and on any location can have toxic amounts of radon. You can’t base the levels of radon in your house after what your neighbor’s levels are, either—they are completely different. If your inspector turns up toxic levels of radon in the house you are buying, put it on the inspection objection report.

Asbestos

This sneaky substance is in many paints, insulation, and even ceilings than many people know. Only harmful when airborne, asbestos can cause many health issues if you aren’t careful. If you are planning on making some renovations after you move into the house, you may want to get it checked first.
The seller doesn’t usually fix asbestos because the house itself is safe as long as it stays undisturbed. If there are repairs being made before you move in that stir up the asbestos, however, that’s probably something you want on your inspection objection.

Mold

Often hiding in the craziest places, mold is a huge cause for concern. First of all, mold indicates some sort of water issue somewhere. Second, mold itself is very harmful to your health. If your inspector turns up mold, know that the seller can still say no to fixing it. You often have to decide if it’s worth the trouble for you to go in and fix yourself (loans like FHA have strict guidelines about mold) or backing out of the deal.

Provide Historical Background

There are a few things that need more looking into than an inspector can see without knocking down a wall or removing some siding. This can include any damage or repairs that have been done and then covered up with a wall or flooring.

How do I negotiate with an inspection objection?

The negotiation process is largely emotional, especially right after an inspection. As you go to the seller with all the issues you want them to fix with the house, remember that this is a place they’ve spent large amounts of time, energy, and money on and it has emotional value for them.

When going into negotiations, take into consideration the amount of time the house has been on the market. If the house was snatched up pretty quickly, you may have little room for negotiations. If the house has been on the market longer, however, the issues brought up in the inspection could be the culprit and prevent the seller from making the sale at the same price in the future.

Make sure you bring up items that are only deal breakers for you to purchase the home. A bad roof or cracks in the walls of the foundation can cause major issues to the integrity of the house, whereas the peeling paint is less of an issue.

As a seller, make calculated repairs based on your ability to sell the house to someone else for the same price. If you could sell the house to someone else for the same price with the same issues, it’s probably not wise to make the repairs.