Find or sell your home today!

(734) 822-7496
Search Home Listings

The Top 5 Most Expensive Home Repairs: A Guide for Ann Arbor Home Inspection

Understand the Most Expensive Repairs During Your Ann Arbor Home Inspection.

All home buyers should carefully consider a home inspection to determine the condition of the home.

When you’re in the market for a new home in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, understanding potential high-cost repairs is crucial to making a wise investment. This guide is designed to help you navigate the five most expensive home repairs, emphasizing the importance of a thorough Ann Arbor home inspection. Let’s dive into these repairs, why they can be financially draining, and how to detect and avoid them for a safer home purchase.

1. Foundation Repairs

Why It’s Costly: Foundation issues can be due to soil conditions, water damage, or poor construction. Repairing a foundation can range from minor fixes to complete replacements, often involving hydraulic lifting or underpinning of the entire house.

Risks: Foundation problems can lead to uneven floors, cracked walls, and a structurally unsound home.

Avoidance Tips: Look for signs of foundation problems, such as cracks in basement walls or floors, bowing walls, or doors that won’t close correctly. Water stains or signs of efflorescence on basement walls can indicate moisture issues, which are often related to foundation problems. Hire a structural engineer to inspect the foundation if you suspect issues, particularly during your Ann Arbor home inspection. Paying close attention to the basement area can provide crucial insights into the overall health of the foundation.

2. Plumbing and Septic System Issues

Why It’s Costly: Repairing or replacing plumbing can be invasive and often requires professionals to handle the materials and ensure proper function. Septic systems, if not maintained, can lead to significant repair or replacement costs.

Risks: Leaking or burst pipes can cause water damage, mold, and structural issues. Septic system failures can lead to unsanitary conditions and require costly clean-up and repairs.

Avoidance Tips: Look for signs of plumbing issues like low water pressure, slow drains, or discolored water. In Washtenaw County, sellers are required to have the septic system inspected and approved by the county, issuing a time of sale letter for wells and septic systems.

Despite this requirement, buyers should consider having their own water and septic inspection done to understand the system’s condition thoroughly. Ask about the age and condition of the septic system and get records of maintenance and any county approvals or inspection documents.

3. HVAC System Repairs

Why It’s Costly: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are complex and require professional installation and maintenance. Replacing or repairing these systems, particularly in larger homes, can be quite expensive.

Risks: A malfunctioning HVAC system can lead to uncomfortable living conditions and high energy bills. Poor air quality and temperature irregularities can also affect residents’ health.

Avoidance Tips: When inspecting your Ann Arbor home, check the age and brand of the system and review maintenance records. During the winter months, it’s essential to note that AC units cannot be tested when outside temperatures are too low.

Homeowners should consider purchasing a home warranty through DTE or a private home warranty company and be ready to budget for replacement if necessary. The average life expectancy of a gas-forced air furnace is around 15-20 years, and a typical home AC unit is around 10-15 years. Have the system inspected by a professional to assess its condition and efficiency.

4. Roof Replacements

Why It’s Costly: The roof is critical for protecting the home from weather elements. Replacing it can be expensive, especially if it requires structural repairs due to water damage or neglect.

Risks: A damaged roof can lead to leaks, mold, and water damage inside the home. Over time, this can affect the home’s structural integrity and indoor air quality.

Avoidance Tips: Check the age and condition of the roof. Look for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and signs of water damage. Get a professional roof inspection if you’re unsure.

5. Electrical System Upgrades

Why It’s Costly: Older homes may have outdated electrical systems such as knob and tube wiring, ungrounded outlets, or insufficient service boxes that don’t meet modern safety standards or support contemporary electrical demands. Upgrading these systems can be expensive due to the need for professional electricians and potentially extensive rewiring.

Risks: Inadequate electrical systems can pose fire hazards, may not support modern appliances and technology, and lead to inconsistent power delivery. Knob and tube wiring and ungrounded outlets present potential risks for electrical fires and shocks. Additionally, an outdated electrical service box may not have sufficient amperage to accommodate current electrical demands, such as air conditioning systems, electric vehicles, and the general increase in home electronic devices.

Avoidance Tips: To assess the electrical system in a home, inspect the electrical panel for its age and condition, and look for any obvious signs of wear or outdated technology like fuse boxes. Observe the condition and style of outlets throughout the house, noting if they are two-pronged (which often indicates no grounding) or if they appear old and worn.

Ask about the age of the electrical system and any updates or modifications that have been made. Consider the capacity of the electrical service, especially if planning to use high-demand devices or systems.

Hiring a professional electrician for a detailed inspection is particularly important in older homes to identify any hidden issues or outdated systems that need upgrading.


Navigating the complexities of home buying can be daunting, especially when considering the potential for costly repairs. Being well-informed and prepared is key to a successful purchase. A detailed Ann Arbor home inspection is invaluable in this process, providing insight into the home’s condition and helping you avoid unexpected expenses.

We always recommend that home buyers hire a qualified home inspector to conduct a thorough home inspection as part of their due diligence when buying a home. This step ensures a comprehensive property evaluation by a qualified professional, offering peace of mind and aiding in informed decision-making.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area and want more information or assistance with your journey, please feel free to reach out. Our team is here to provide guidance and support, offering a comfortable, confidential, and client-focused approach to ensure you make the best decision for your future.

Your dream home awaits, and we’re excited to help you find it!

Related Posts