Pointing out potential major defects

When a home inspector (myself) is performing a inspection and coming across concerns that could potentially be what every realtor is concerned about ($1500 or more). Should I be making the blunt statements on the report that a repair is “major” and going to be more than $1500 or stating as I do currently “that it could be a major repair and that a professional should evaluate”? Reason I ask is I do not make this blunt statement and I get pushback at times stating this is not liked and I need to say it is or isn’t a $1500 issue. Am I the one at fault or not providing enough to the client when I make that statement? I am just fishing for opinions.

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Do you operate somewhere that requires you to address defects that may cost $1,500? Do you have a state SOP that defines “major defects” as $1,500 items?

Or, why is it an issue?

I am in NY and $1500 appears to be like the magic# or possible deal killer figure

Hi Jason

I’m not really sure how you come up with an $1,500.00 repair-replace as being significant, but it may not be to some people.

Personally I do not put any price tags on any item in the report, just report what I find, but I do understand what you’re talking about…you probably figure your helping the buyer out by stating this item may cost a significant amount of money to repair.

$1,500.00 is not a lot of money in today’s world…I think if I was going to use a figure (which I wouldn’t) it would be $5K as being significant.

Being a contractor a good part of my life if someones asks what I think a repair will cost, if I know it’s going to cost at least a couple thousand to repair I will tell the buyer verbally if they ask.


Thanks for your reply. Also I do not put any actual price tag on my reports ever. I do though get asked if I consider certain repairs to be under or over the magic # and if I believe it might go over I do like I said make the statement “possible major repair”.

I understand…seems odd $1500 bucks is a major defect there.

Just about any home could use $1500 in repairs without much looking, heck, even exterior paint would be more than that.

I have similar experience as Dale so I have a good idea what something may cost but we need to remember, like Dale pointed out, that what one person thinks may kill the deal for them isn’t the same a what someone else find to be problematic.

Reporting defects and letting others (the qualified professional) give a price for repairs is helpful too.

Major Concern: An item which either currently does, or if left unattended will, affect the habitability of the home.

Safety Concern: An item which effects the safety and security of the home and occupants.

Either of these could be a $15.00, $150.00, $1500.00, or even a $15,000.00 item. It doesn’t matter. The cost of repair, is whatever it will be.

Unless you are bidding on repairing it, then you’ve no business assigning a dollar amount to it. And if you are bidding to repair it, then turn in your NACHI membership for a COE violation.

If the RE agent wants a dollar amount then I suppose it is her job to call around and get some estimates…

The $1500 is the dollar amount written into the contract, at least around Jason and myself. Much like the EPAs number (4piC/l ),it is a just a number that was picked, so that buyers have a way out of the contract and get there earnest money back. It is for one item that will cost $1500 to repair or replace. when there is an item that will cost that or more the client/agent will want to know this.

I address all defects in the same manner by explaining it. I will occassionally explain the extent of a defect and state that due to that extent replacement not repair is reccommended. So a single issue costing $1500.00 is a big deal to some but not others, what if there are 20 concerns costing 200 each, it doesn’t make sense to me. Every defect I identify has consequences if not repaired, those with safety consequences are a bigger concern to me than the costly ones to repair (unless they are safety related too or the consequences of no repair will continually drive up the cost). We can’t force people to do anything we recommend only render an opinion and I am of the opinion that we shouldn’t be determining the importance or associated costs of the defects we identify. It just isn’t our job.

I think the point is that it may be best to let the person that is possibly going to do the work quote the price. If the purchase agreement between the seller and buyer states something like that, how did the home inspector get involved? He reports on condition does he not?

So the concern is only “major” if it costs more than 1500 to repair?

So if the concern is only a $10.00 repair, but if not fixed could burn the house down, that’s not major?

Heck if that was the case, I’d be ticking off a lot of agents, because I’d be defining some pretty cheap things as very costly to repair…

Bottom line, if that’s in their contract or not, it’s still not our job to quote estimates. She needs to call a contractor and get an estimate. If its more than 1500, then she has her answer… I’m sure if she told them what she needed they would quote her whatever she want’s.

I guess it’s one of those regional things. These are how the contracts are written. Sometimes it’s easy to say an item will cost $1500 or more (roof, furnace, etc…). other times not so easy.

The contracts are written to say that the home inspector has to price the repairs?

Did you sign the contract? That’s their BS not yours.


I would classify that $10.00 defect as being a Safety Issue in my report and which should be considered a priority repair.

On a major replacement or repair they’re just looking to see if it involves a significant expense to correct. “The roof is shot and needs replacement, this could involve a significant expense exceeding $1500. Recommend getting estimates for replacement”.

Agreed, but you understand my point…:cool:

This is something in the clients contract w/the sellers/realtors or whoever. Again I do not quote repair prices but it is expected that I have some general knowledge for cost of repairs so I can give a heads up, which I do to my best ability. As mentioned in beginning I just get push back from some realtors that I should be able to say 100% if repair is $1500 or not and I state I can not do such a thing only the professional in that certain field can do that. Again I appreciate everyones feedback I just am looking for opinions and I think everyone is backing up my feeling for the most part. Keep the replies coming though I am interested.

Jason… here’s my answer to these questions I get them all the time.

IMO it could very well be. Depends on the contractor you hire for the job. Prices vary drastically. Recommend calling atleast three companies for professional quotes. I’ve never had trouble saying this.