Before buying a home, you will need to pay for a home inspection from a qualified inspector.

Home inspectors know what to look for to ensure that the home is in good shape, without any hidden problems that might make it a costly purchase for you down the road.

They will look beyond the cosmetic side, which you can clearly see, to inspect the structure and overall condition of the home. Often, the inspection report will come back with a laundry list of “problems,” and not all of these are a cause for concern.

However, if you see any of these five red flags, you may want to consider either walking away from the home, or asking for a deep discount on the purchase price.

1. Pests Living in the Attic

Pests are a real headache to get rid of, and some pests, like termites, can cause serious structural damage. If your home inspector finds evidence of pests, do not purchase the home until you have talked to a pest control expert to see if there is an easy solution.

For termites and other wood-eating pests, you also must ensure that the structure of the home has not been compromised.

2. Mold and Mildew

Mold is a serious health risk, causing respiratory and immune system problems for people who are exposed to mold spores on a regular basis. Home sellers are required to disclose known mold, but sometimes they will not know that mold is growing in attics, in crawl spaces and behind walls.

Home inspectors know how to look for not only signs of mold, but also areas where mold growth is likely. If your home inspector suspects a mold problem, you may want to think twice about buying the home.

3. Toxic Materials in the Home

Lead paint, Chinese drywall and asbestos, sometimes found in older homes, contain toxic materials that can lead to illness and overall immune system problems, even an increased cancer risk. If your inspector finds signs that one of these is present in the home, talk to an expert to see what risk it poses to your family before buying the home.

You may ask the seller to remove the offending item before you buy the home.

4. Outdated Wiring and Appliances

Home inspectors know how to inspect wiring for problems, and outdated wiring is a risk you probably don’t want to take on. Outdated wiring or wiring that is not properly installed represents a fire risk.

Overloaded circuits, improperly grounded wires and poorly installed electrical items can lead to a fire, and you do not want to buy a home with a known fire risk.

5. Roof Problems = Expensive

Roof problems don’t put your safety at risk necessarily, but if you have a serious roof problem it will be expensive to repair. Make sure your home inspector checks the roof thoroughly, and not just from the ground.

You need to know if the roof will need repair in the near future so that you can make a wise purchase decision as you prepare to buy your home.

As you can see, home inspectors are invaluable in the home buying process. Choose a good one, so you get a thorough picture of what the home is really like underneath the surface.