I see a lot of houses, like hundreds of old St. Paul houses every year. I have seen hundreds of inspection reports and have been on well over a hundred home inspections. There is always something that needs fixing in an old house and sometimes it needs so much work that buyers decide not to buy it.
Having a complete home inspection is an important step in the home buying process but those inspections are not free. Sometimes, buyers, have friends or relatives conduct the inspection.
What could possibly go wrong? Usually, these helpful friends or relatives miss a few important things. They don’t check the furnace or the water heater. They miss the fact the garbage disposal doesn’t work or that the new furnace does not have a filter in it.
They might not notice missing window screens or even cracked window glass. They may miss the gaps between the shower surround and the bathroom wall, or that the back door lacks any kind of weather stripping.
The helpful and knowledgeable friend does not use a systematic approach nor does he give the home buyer a report with pictures and recommendations. Usually, the friend does an incomplete or partial inspection.
If they are not familiar with the older houses in the inner city they may not know what some of the common problems are like ungrounded electrical systems and tree roots in the sewer line.
On the one hand, the buyer saves money because professional inspectors will generally charge at least $300. On the other hand, they may end up paying for repairs that they could have had the seller pay for if they had known about them during the inspection period.