When home inspectors need outside help

Don't mix professional activities with personal concerns

DEAR BARRY: I’ve been a home inspector for many years and have inspected more than 6,000 homes. For the first time since becoming an inspector, I’m shopping for a home of my own and plan to inspect it myself. A friend has advised against this. He says I should hire another home inspector. I feel totally confident to do my own inspection but would like your opinion. –James

DEAR JAMES: There is a saying in the legal profession that an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client and an idiot for a lawyer. This axiom was born from bitter and costly experience and can be applied to a number of professions. Medical doctors, for example, seldom have family members as patients.

The wisdom of this rule applies as well to home inspectors, for one simply reason: Objectivity is essential when evaluating the condition of a home, and emotional involvement reduces objectivity.

To be objective, an inspector must be unconcerned about the outcome of the inspection and the nature of the findings. Therefore, your home inspection should be done by someone with no vested interest in the property.