Are DIY Home Inspections A Good Idea?
Typically, there are two groups of home buyers that consider a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home inspection. The first group, oftentimes first-time home buyers, has a father, uncle, or friend that has construction experience or just “knows homes” and they are going to stop by and inspect the house. The second group are experienced home buyers that are buying a newer home and think 1) that they will be able to spot any issues themselves during their walk-throughs, and 2) because it’s a newer home, the probability of any big issues existing is relatively low. The risk and potential for significant issues to go unnoticed for either of these groups is extremely high.
To help you see exactly where do-it-yourself inspections fail, Due North Property Inspection has explained why DIY home inspections are not in your best interests. We have also covered the best way to go about a home inspection before purchasing a house.
1. It’s easy to overlook safety hazards
Without the necessary experience and training, you may miss critical signs of damage or weakened infrastructure, missing or inoperative safety features throughout the home, or DIY workmanship that makes the home unsafe. You may not know how to operate all the systems in the house to ensure they are working fine and are safe for use.
On the other hand, a good home inspector is going to bring your attention to several safety hazards that may exist in your prospective home, many of which most people are not trained to identify. Professionals can uncover several safety deficiencies in a house from missing or improperly located smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms, incorrect or DIY electrical work that could create potential hot spots, moisture intrusion causing mold or mildew growth, or leaky furnace and water heater exhaust ducting spewing poisonous CO into the living space.
2. Inability to access hard to reach areas of the home
Most home buyers are not going to access the attic, crawl space, or roof, all areas where deficiencies can be common. Many homeowners may not want you accessing these areas if you’re not a professional. If you do access any of these areas, most people do not have the training to properly identify evidence of latent or active issues. Some areas or elements of a home require proper training and knowledge from a safety standpoint. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself or have to leave the homeowner a note about damage you caused.
Professional home inspectors have the training and tools required to access these areas safely and report about deficiencies in these locations accurately. They will also have the experience that allows them to know where to look for common issues.
3. You may not have the right tools and knowledge
Many systems or elements of the home require specialty tools to test or inspect accurately. Professional home inspectors carry things such as circuit testers, moisture meters, combustion analyzers, thermal imaging cameras, and other tools to help identify issues accurately rather than guessing. We also carry tools to access equipment such as the furnace cabinet or to remove the deadfront from the electrical panel. Along with having the right tools at hand is the day-to-day experience using these tools appropriately.
4. You may attract major financial implications
When you carry out a DIY inspection, there are several key elements you may miss. This could lead you to believe that the house is in great condition. But, down the line, you may notice that the place is falling apart or that you’ve purchased a money pit.
Having a Certified Home Inspector evaluate a property before you buy it could not only help you avoid having to deal with these types of deficiencies but save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement. Additionally, a typical home inspection in Minnesota will cost you anywhere between $400 to $600, depending on the size and age of the home. If you think about the investment you’re about to make, this price tag is relatively insignificant when comparing it to the down payment and thirty-year mortgage you’re about to sign up for. From our experience, no matter the age, size, or price tag associated with the home, we always have findings, even when it comes to brand new builds. The cost of your home inspection can most often be off-set with the findings from your home inspection when you negotiate repairs or discounts as part of your purchasing process.
Do things right - hire a professional!
There are so many things to be considered when looking for and buying a new home. The neighborhood, school district, commute to work, curb appeal of the property, proximity to family and friends all play a role in why you fall in love with a house. And usually, when buying a home, these become a bigger priority than the underlying condition of the property you’re considering. This makes it vital to consult a home inspector. Certified home inspectors are solely concerned with the state of your house and its systems. They are not worried about the other factors going through your head (like the neighborhood, school district, etc.). So, if you find it hard to look at a house from an unbiased perspective, your home inspector will call your attention to deficiencies you may not have even noticed or known would be of concern.
For more information on home inspections and how the job is done professionally, reach out to Due North Property Inspection. We offer certified home inspection services for clients across the Greater Twin Cities and St. Cloud areas, including Albertville, Anoka, Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Champlin, Chanhassen, Eden Prairie, Edina, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Prior Lake, Rogers, Shakopee, St. Louis Park, St. Michael, St. Paul, Wayzata, Woodbury, and the surrounding areas.