Home Safety Hazards: What to Look Out for When Buying a Home

It’s easy to overlook a home’s potential safety hazards when you’re anxious to pull the trigger on what seems like the property of your dreams, especially when the market is hot. It’s important to remember that even if a home appears to be in perfect condition, there may be hidden problems. Don’t let the market rush you into making a hasty purchase, doing so could cost you much more in the long run.

Homes are being swept up at a remarkable rate. Seventy percent of existing homes sold in December 2020 were on the market for less than a month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

A current factor that’s likely leading prospective homebuyers to take the plunge before doing their due diligence is a high demand for homes. Even if you’re feeling desperate to finalize a purchase, don’t brush aside a home’s potential problems. No home is worth jeopardizing your family’s health or financial wellbeing. Read on to learn more about major safety issues that may come up on your home inspection report, and the issues that could be missed by a home inspector.

Major Home Inspection Issues

Most of the issues that found in a home inspection are minor. But the problems listed below are serious enough that they should cause you to reconsider, or at the very least, renegotiate.

Structural issues

Remedying problems with a home’s structure won’t be cheap. Most houses settle, so hairline cracks are usually nothing to worry about. But if your home inspector indicates that a crack may be a problem, you should hire a foundation engineer to dig deeper into the issue and find out if the home is structurally sound.

Water damage

No matter how minor water damage appears, it should make warning signals go off. A small water stain can indicate a much larger problem, like a leak in the roof.

An outdated electrical system

If the electrical system is from before the 1960s, it almost certainly doesn’t meet code, meaning that the entire system will need to be replaced. In some cases, this may mean knocking entire walls down to bring the house up to code.

Plumbing issues

Plumbing issues aren’t always a major issue. They can range in severity from a leaky faucet to the entire home needing repair or replacement. If your inspector notes any significant plumbing problems, hire a plumber to get their professional opinion.

Health and Safety Hazards that Could be Missed During a Regular Home Inspection

Environmental toxins

Most home inspectors lack the certifications necessary to test for environmental safety. This is why homebuyers should schedule an environmental inspection in addition to setting up a regular inspection. The most common environmental hazards include asbestos, lead paint, mold and radon. All pose significant health risks and are costly to remove.

Homes built before 1978 often contain lead, and homes built before 1980 may contain asbestos. If buyers know about the environmental toxins prior to closing on the home, they can ask the seller to pay for some or all of the associated costs.


Unfortunately, just because you don’t see bugs or rodents it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. If evidence of their existence is hidden by floorboards or obscured intentionally, even the most experienced home inspector can miss signs of pests or vermin.

A few mice are one thing, but termites are a whole different ball game as they can literally eat a house down. Though a pest inspection is recommended no matter where you live, it isn’t required by all states. For instance, California doesn’t require infestation reports with real-estate transactions, but South Carolina does.

Before rushing into buying that picture perfect home, homebuyers should make sure it isn’t hiding anything ugly under its dazzling exterior. A home inspection is obviously a must but going beyond a standard inspection could save you a lot of hassle (and money).

At Colonial Van Lines, we think that choosing a home should be the most challenging part of any move. Whether you prefer a hassle-free move-in ready home or a fixer upper, we’d love to be a part of your journey. Our team of friendly, experienced movers will ensure that your belongings arrive safely no matter where you’re going, be it across the state or country. There’s a reason Colonial Van Lines has long been considered the nation’s top moving company. 

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