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RE: doing your own house inspections

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I purchased a house several months ago, and was very happy to use an inspector rather than try to do it myself.  The inspector was able to assess the plumbing, the furnace, the electrical system, the drainage of the yard, and a host of other issues that I would not have been familiar with.  I am very familiar with the structural portions of the UBC, but could not even guess about the plumbing or electrical code, or chimney regulations, or roofing practices.  There were several things I had noticed about the house that I was not sure about that the inspector explained very easily based on experience with hundreds of similar homes in the area over his years of experience.  Even on items that you may feel comfortable with, it is nice to have another set of eye looking at the issues, probably with a very different set of experiences from you own.  Over the course of the inspection process, I learned a lot about the house that I would not otherwise know.  It is also worth noting that in my case, the house was 30 years old, so some of the construction methods and materials were a little different from what I am used to.  One room was done in rather hideous fake wood paneling that hasn't been used since the 70s, and was warped in several areas.  Seeing warping, I assumed that humidity or moisture might be an issue, but the inspect assured me that warping was common in that material.  Try as I might, I could find no sign of water intrusion, and it was nice to have a reassurance that the warping was normal.  Overall, I could not have come up with a report that would have been even half as good as the one the inspector did.  Repairing the deck, and adding a few localizing seismic ties is about the extent of what my own structural experience has added to the experience of home ownership.  When you look for an inspector, make sure to chat with the person before you hire them to get a feel for how willing to communicate with you they are, and their background.  Of all the various several hundred dollar items I had to pay as part of the process (inspection, appraisal, etc.) the inspection was easily the most worthwhile to me personally.  Good luck!
Paul Crocker, P.E.

-----Original Message-----
From: Zachary Goswick [mailto:ZachG(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2001 8:20 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: RE: doing your own house inspections

I just entered into the same world.  It is not recommended that you do your own inspection according to a couple of books that my wife and I read.  There are a number of reasons, I can't remember all of them, but I will tell you the ones I remember.  They say that the new owner may have become emotionally attached to the house already and may not be as objective as an outside inspector.  Also, unless you do this on a regular basis, you may not know what you should be looking for in regards to items which have been problems in other houses in the same area.  Most inspectors can tell you what they have seen as problems in other houses in the same area, possibly built by the same builder. I went through with a home inspector this last Monday, and I learned some things.  You may want to consider what your specialty is.  Inspectors look at a number of items including electrical, mechanical, structural, landscaping, roofing, etc.  I know about the structural, but wouldn't have known what exactly to look for in the other areas.  I was in a similar boat, wondering if I should do my own inspection, and I am now glad that I paid for it.

Zachary Goswick, EIT
Angus-Young Associates, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: Alden Manipula [mailto:amanipula(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2001 4:35 PM
To: SEAINT Listserve
Subject: doing your own house inspections

I'm entering the bold world of home ownership.  I was just wondering if it would be okay for me to do my own inspection report?  or do you all think the sellers/sellers agent/insurance company would think something is fishy?  TIA

Alden Manipula
Structural E.I.T.