Home inspectors are quite simply the eyes and ears of the home being examined. They are the objective voice of the home. The mantra of the home inspectors should be “if the home could speak, what would it say”. It is critical that the inspector can speak in a manner that makes understanding simple for the homebuyer, yet has the depth of technical language to detail repairs using terminology common to the trades.
Making that right choice of which home inspector is in many ways more difficult than choosing the home. A clear and critical approach to selecting an inspector is essential to being happy over time with the home selected.
My Friend in Construction
It seems that everyone knows someone who “works in construction”, and from that relationship comes the common desire by some buyers to save the professional inspection fee by having the friend or family member perform the inspection.
At first blush, this seems like a perfect solution. The friend or family member is a known and trusted person. There is no doubt in the mind of the buyer that the loyalty and intentions of this person are above reproach. And then of course, there is the issue of saving the inspection fee.
These attributes of the friend are important. Ideally, all but the expense issue would be traits found in any professional home inspector. The difficulty arises in three principal areas; objectivity, creditability, and inspection specific knowledge.
Let’s look first at the issue of inspection specific knowledge. While it may be that the friend is without peer in his particular area of construction, it is rare that he is able to view the home in it’s entirely – that is, as an interaction of dozens of complex and interrelated systems. The most knowledgeable of heating and air-conditioning contractors may know near to nothing about roofing.
Even more common, however, than the lack of a broad base of knowledge, is the lack of any knowledge that is useful during a home inspection.