When The Inspection Report Reveals Problems

Minor, Major, and Material defects explained

It can take a great deal of time and effort to find your perfect home. When you think you finally found it, the last thing you want is for the home to have serious problems.

The home inspection is a crucial part of the home buying process, so what if the report reveals problems? What should you do?

First things first: don’t panic!

It’s important to note the different classification of defects. As we write your report, we break down the defects into three categories: minor, major, and material.

We often consider minor defects to be simple maintenance items, or items you should put on your watchlist.

Major defects will certainly cause problems or they are a potential safety concern.

Material defects are possible imminent safety concerns which may require urgent attention.

While major and material defects sound like they would be expensive, deal-breaking concerns, things may not always be what they seem. 

For example, our report may call out smoke detectors that are old, missing, or not working correctly as a major defect. This is a relatively easy fix, despite being a safety concern.

A double tapped breaker in the electric panel is more common than you think, and we generally consider double tapped breakers to be material defects because they may pose a fire hazard. Most times, a qualified electrical contractor can inexpensively fix a double tapped breaker and the problem is solved.

Conversely, we may consider an old roof system system to be a minor defect. If there are no indications of leaks and the roof appears correctly installed, we simply note the age of the system and estimate its remaining useful life. In which case, we would recommend monitoring the roof’s performance and budgeting for its eventual replacement. 

It’s important to look at the big picture when reading your inspection report.

Minor defects, such as an old roof system, could leave you in over your head, while major and material defects may not always be expensive, deal-breaking issues.

Because there is fluidity with defects and report items, we recommend reading through your entire inspection report and contacting us if you have any questions. 


Don't be alarmed if your inspection report turns up defects you didn't expect.


We are here to help you understand your inspection report and we are available to discuss our findings with you, no matter how much time has passed since your inspection!

We are available by phone, text, and email 7 days a week.