First time buyer - Can I Use a Friend To Do My Home Inspection?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 25 March 2014 08:45

Question - I’ve got a friend in the construction business. Why can’t I use him to do my home inspection?

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 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? 

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. 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. Not only will you get a thorough inspection and report on the whole house, 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 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 homes 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 I and getting sick because your buddy didn’t 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 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. You can go to these sites for recommendations on home inspectors and to see what they have to go through to be certified 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

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Norm Werner

Norm Werner is a Realtor at the Milford office of Real Estate One serving the southeastern Michigan area of Oakland and Livingston Counties. Norm specializes in residential real estate. Norm lives and works in Milford Michigan and is married to Carolyn Werner. Norm and Carolyn live in a historic home just three blocks from downtown Milford, with their two dogs - Sadie and Skippy. Norm specializes in the historic homes of Milford and the surrounding area and is on the Board of Directors of the Milford Historical Society. Norm especially enjoys working with first time buyers and those at the other end of the real estate spectrum who are downsizing into their retirement home. 

In addition to his web site, Norm also owns and m,aintains web site, the web site. He is also the webmaster for and the web site and the MilfordCar web site, as well as his church web site - In addition to blogging about real eastate, Norm has a personal blog - - on which he shares inspirational messages and the occasions personal observation about life.

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