Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your life. To make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, a home inspection is highly recommended before finalizing any real estate deal. During a home inspection, a professional home inspector thoroughly examines the physical condition of the entire property to identify any issues or defects.
As a buyer, you essentially have two options – hire an experienced home inspector or do your inspection. Below we’ll explore the key pros and cons of each approach, so you can determine the best choice for your situation.
Pros of Using a Professional Home Inspector
Specialized Knowledge and Experience
The biggest advantage of using a professional Arizona home inspector is their expertise. Home inspectors undergo training and certification to conduct thorough, unbiased examinations per industry standards and state regulations. They know exactly what to look for in all areas of the home. An experienced home inspector will have inspected hundreds or thousands of properties over many years, giving them a refined eye for spotting defects. As a buyer, you likely don’t have this level of specialized knowledge or experience inspecting home systems and components.
Better Assessment of Major Systems
Home inspectors use advanced technical tools and methods to evaluate the condition of the home’s major systems. This includes the roof, foundation, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and more. They can even identify issues in areas that may not be visible, like crawl spaces, attics, and behind walls. The average homebuyer does not have access to things like thermal imaging cameras, moisture meters, outlet testers, and CO detectors that professionals use.
Unbiased, Objective Evaluation
Since Arizona home inspectors work independently from real estate agents and sellers, you can count on their impartial assessment. A home inspector has no stake in whether you ultimately purchase the property or not. Their job is simply to provide information to the buyer about the current condition of the home based on an objective inspection. If you complete your inspection as a buyer, it is almost impossible to remain unbiased.
Professionally Written Inspection Report
Once the on-site inspection is finished, home inspectors provide a comprehensive written report summarizing their findings. This includes detailed descriptions and images of any issues discovered, along with recommendations for repairs. As a buyer, this documentation gives you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about moving forward with the home purchase. If you self-inspect, ensuring thorough documentation of your findings will require diligence.
Cons of Using a Professional Home Inspector
The main downside of hiring a pro is the cost, which typically ranges from $300-$500 depending on the size and location of the home. For buyers on a very tight budget, this extra expense may not be feasible. However, considering the huge financial commitment of purchasing a home, most experts agree that a professional inspection is worth the money. Catching even small issues before closing can end up saving you thousands down the road.
Potential Conflicts of Interest
While most home inspectors maintain high ethical standards, there is a chance of coming across an unethical inspector who is not acting in your best interest as the buyer. For example, some inspectors may be more lenient in their assessments if they have an existing relationship with the real estate agent or home seller. This underscores the importance of thoroughly vetting potential inspectors to find one who is impartial and works exclusively for you.
Bringing in a home inspector adds another step to the real estate transaction process, which can complicate scheduling. You’ll need to coordinate a time for the inspection when the home is accessible and all utilities are on, while also working within the closing timeline. If you’re in a hot market with competing offers, this extra delay could potentially cost you the home. Being flexible with timing and planning ahead as much as possible will prevent problems.
Pros of DIY Home Inspection
The most obvious benefit of inspecting the home yourself is avoiding the inspector fee, which as mentioned could run you $300 or more. For buyers on a tight budget or those looking to save money wherever possible, doing it yourself may be the only viable option. Even if you can technically afford the cost, you may prefer to allocate those funds elsewhere in the transaction.
Flexibility and Convenience
Completing the inspection on your own time allows greater flexibility. You can take as much or as little time as needed, schedule multiple walkthroughs if desired, and bring along anyone you want for second opinions. You aren’t limited to the availability of a professional home inspector. The convenience factor may be appealing to buyers who are hands-on and like to oversee the process.
For homebuyers in competitive markets where offers need to be as clean and speedy as possible, performing your inspection eliminates some potential delays. You don’t have to wait days or weeks to align schedules with an inspector. If you have concerns about beating competing offers, self-inspecting may give you an advantage.
Cons of DIY Home Inspection
Lack of Expertise
The number one downside to inspecting the property on your own is lack of experience. Unless you have a construction or trade background, you likely don’t have technical expertise inspecting the home’s major systems. Important defects could potentially go unnoticed, which later become major headaches and unexpected expenses after moving in. Visual inspections have limitations.
No Professional Tools
Without the proper tools, you’ll also miss issues that fall outside the realm of visual inspection. Home inspectors use thermal imagers, carbon monoxide detectors, moisture meters, and more to identify problems with insulation, air sealing, leaks, and more. These are expensive professional tools the average buyer does not own. Hidden moisture or electric issues can become safety hazards.
Hard to Remain Objective
Another pitfall of DIY is the likelihood of overlooking flaws simply because you love the home and want the deal to work out. Your own bias as a buyer makes it extremely difficult to conduct an impartial, comprehensive inspection. You’ll be more apt to downplay or rationalize concerns. An experienced professional who is paid for their time and doesn’t care if you buy the home or not will be far more objective.
Unless you meticulously document your inspection findings yourself, you won’t have a report to refer back to down the road. Itemizing every flaw you encounter, describing specifics, taking thorough photos and videos, and keeping detailed notes is time-consuming. A pro handles all this documentation for you.
In summary, home inspections are essential to any real estate purchase. Professional Arizona home inspectors have distinct advantages over DIY inspections when it comes to expertise, tools, objectivity, and reporting. But for buyers facing budget or time constraints, self-inspecting may be a reasonable alternative – as long as you recognize your limitations. Understanding these key pros and cons allows you to make the smartest decision for your situation.