Copyright 2006 - 2017
First time buyer – Can I use a friend to do my home inspection?
Question - I’ve got a friend in the construction business. Why can’t I use him to do my home inspection?
Answer: You could; but let’s make this comparison – if you had a fiend in the medical field, maybe a dermatologist or a foot doctor, would you use him/her to deliver your first child? No. Why not? How about to perform an operation on you? No. Gee, I wonder why?
You can have a friend who is a carpenter, but will he know all about plumbing and electrical or be able to test your well and septic? Maybe you have a friend who is a plumber; will he be able to assess the mold that you might find, do the radon test or climb up on your roof and inspect the chimney flashing? Maybe your friend is a roofer; what does he know about your plumbing system or can he properly inspect and test your electrical system. Will he know how to test your HVAC system? How about Sal the painter, is he the fiend in the building trades that you want to advise you on cracks in the foundation? It’s great that you have a friend in the trades and maybe he can help you later with repairs or remodeling, but this initial home inspection is too important to entrust to him.
So, the real answer is no.
Good home inspectors know what to look for and how to test and assess the house from top to bottom and all of the systems in between. Professional home inspectors invest in the equipment needed to perform tests on various components of the house to check for problems. Your friend may just bring a flashlight with him. Good inspectors will either be able to do your well and septic inspections or they will bring someone with them who can. They might do the radon test themselves or have a companion test for that. Your friend in the trades may not even mention that to you. Not only will you get a thorough inspection and report on the whole house from a home inspection pro; but, you’ll learn about all of the major systems as you follow the inspector around.
I’ve been on hundreds of home inspections; so many that I can spot the issues myself now (but I still leave that to the experts). I’ve seen excellent inspectors in action and even some who were somewhat marginal; but even the less effective ones are still better than the job you would get by having a “friend in the trades” do the job. About the closest, that you can come is if you have a builder with lots of home builds under their belt; but, even then, most of them do not do as good of a job as a good full-time home inspector.
So, I have to ask you again; why would you do that? Do you think trying to save a few bucks up front is worth finding out 2-3 months into owning the place that your friend didn’t advise you that the furnace was on its last legs or that the hot water heater was about to fail, because they didn’t know what to look for or how to test them? What about getting in and getting sick because your friend did not test and so didn’t find the cracked heat exchanger on the furnace that is now dumping carbon monoxide into your home every time the furnace runs? Or maybe because your bud didn’t want to do a septic check you get in and find that the field has failed and the sewage is backing up in the basement. Is it really worth those kinds of risks to save a couple hundred bucks?
There are other places to look to see if you can save a little on this first house, but the home inspection should not be one of them. It doesn’t matter if your buddy tells you that he can do it all, because he’s worked on several houses and owns his own house – don’t do it! Get a professional home inspector.
Here’s a link to a good article that appeared on the RealtyTimes Web site that will reinforce these the points that I’ve made in this post - https://realtytimes.com/archives/item/1013547-20180103-theres-a-lot-to-consider-when-choosing-a-home-inspector
You can go to the sites below for recommendations on home inspectors and to see what they have to go through to obtain certification by these groups. A good home inspector will likely belong to and be certified by one of these groups.
American Society of Home Inspectors – ASHI
National Society of Home Inspectors - NSHI
National Association of Home Inspectors - NAHI
You can always ask your Realtor® for recommendations for home inspectors. They usually will have a list of 3-4 inspectors that they’ve used in the past who do good jobs. A good home inspector will be able to find the problems that exist in the house and advise you on the probably fix for the issues and perhaps give you an estimate of the costs involved. A good inspector will do so in a manner that doesn’t scare you to death; but, rather, informs and equips you to deal with the issues that almost all houses have.
Think of the home inspection as being like having a professional mechanic look over a used car that you want to buy, only this purchase is way bigger. If you could either take your dad along with your to look at the car or you could have a professions mechanic look it over before you buy; which would you do?
Norm Werner is a full-time Realtor® working for Real Estate One in Milford, Michigan. Norms helps people buy and sell houses in Southeastern Michigan, in Oakland, Livingston and Macomb Counties You can contact Norm about finding a new home or about getting a Market Analysis for your current home by texting or calling him at 248-7863-2497 or click here to go to his web site and fill out Help Form for buyers and sellers.
To see all of the post that have been made to this series of posts go to the post series index.