Can I do my own home inspection?

The short answer is yes. However, while you may think you are saving money by not having your home inspected by a professional, consider the following.

Training: Extensive training on numerous house systems combined with the experience of hundreds or even thousands of inspections is essential to conducting a thorough inspection.  A professional inspector has the ability to assimilate visible defects, anticipate unseen issues, and give insight into other, greater concerns. For example, mold in the basement may be obvious. However, mold requires moisture to grow, and why it is there could be due to many reasons. The gutters at the roof line are not sloped properly. Water overflows and pools around the foundation working its way through the foundation behind the insulation and drywall. The same could be said for downspouts discharging water directly at the foundation. There could be a slight plumbing leak behind the wall. Another reason may be related to flashing detail on the roof or at the chimney. Water could be working its way through the attic, down the inside wall, and into the basement. This is just one example of an issue that a home inspector will work to find the cause of and report as a concern.

Knowledge: While you may know a little about a lot, or even know a lot about a lot, do you have extensive training in electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems? Do you know what to look for regarding safety concerns according to local jurisdiction codes and requirements? Are you comfortable getting up on the roof and do you know what to look for once you are up there? Consider your home inspector as a general practitioner. The inspector is giving the house an overall examination. If issues require further exploration or repair, a referral to a specialist may be recommended.

The YouTube Illusion: Have you ever watched a YouTube clip and felt totally qualified to do something, only to find out that the one thing the clip did not provide was … experience!

Bias: Even if you know what to look for, you may overlook issues just because you love the house and want it. It is fair to say that many a person has allowed the desire for a home to override the costs involved with repairs or replacements. With a non-biased, third-party evaluation of the property in your hands, you may think a little clearer. Even home inspectors usually have another unbiased inspector look at the house for them.

Cost: The bottom line is that proportionate to the cost of the property, a home inspection is relatively inexpensive and can save you money in the long and short term. The cost of a home inspection may be between $300 for a condo and upwards of $600 or more for a large home. Let’s say that the average inspection costs approximately $450, and the average cost of a house in Maryland currently is around $400,000. The outlay for the inspections is 0.1% of the purchase price of the home. That’s 1/10th of 1 percent. A new heating or cooling system can cost as much as $5-10,000 to replace (depending on the size of the home). An electrician can charge between $50 – $120/hour for repairs. The average cost for a plumber to come out to the house for repairs is approximately $300 per hour. Something as seemingly easy as a water heater can cost $1,000 – $1,400 to replace if it has outlived its typical service life. A new roof can cost between $4,000 to $10,000 (depending on the size of the roof). So, as you see, a home inspection cost is relatively cheap compared to the potential costs for repairs or replacement of major systems.

Negotiations: Are you qualified to handle negotiations through your realtor? Will the seller accept your evaluation and request for repairs or replacements? Like wanting to see a little gray hair on your pilot’s head or knowing that your heart specialist has had years of experience, just thinking that you know ‘stuff’, is probably not going to fly. Realtors and sellers have come to trust an expert in the field of home inspections to hand over a detailed, thorough evaluation of the house. That is what will carry its weight in negotiations.  

So, while you may be allowed to inspect the home, are you the right person to do so just to save a little money? It’s probably the best investment in your new home that you will ever make.

If you have any questions about home inspections, please call to schedule an appointment.

One of our 9 fully licensed and ASHI certified inspectors (two Spanish speaking and one Portuguese speaking) would be glad to come out to look at your property and provide a report for you.

 Call 410-772-9332 or reserve an appointment by going to

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Highland Home Inspections is a Veteran Owned local business with offices in Ellicott City and Prince Frederick, Maryland, and serves Central and Southern Maryland the Eastern Shore, Ocean City, and Fenwick Island, DE. Now also in Northern Virginia.