I have been in the home inspection business for a few years now and before that I had a government job where one of my responsibilities was to inspect buildings and then develop renovation and repair work plans for each building.
My past experiences have given me a good idea of what to look for in a building inspection, what is important and what is not, what is repairable and whether or not certain defects create an unsafe condition or not.
Despite all that when I purchased my first house I still overlooked some important items that caused us some trouble. I saw the defects but because my wife and I really wanted the house and we were excited about the acquisition, I discounted the basement water problem as not too serious and something I could handle down the road.
That was a big mistake that cost us a fair amount of money. Oh by the way did I mention that we wanted a home inspection but our realtor talked us out of it and said it was not necessary! He actually laughed at the idea. This was a few years ago, before home inspections were as popular as they are today.
This particular hardship is what initiated my interest in becoming a Home Inspector. I realized that a thorough home inspection performed by a trained individual that was not emotionally involved in the purchase of the home would have detected the basement water problems and flagged it as a potentially more serious defect.
The emotional aspect of being involved in the the purchase of a home is one of the main reasons that home buyers should not do their own home inspection unless they are very experienced and familiar with standard construction practices. Even with lots of experience it is good to take along a more objective person such as a friend, brother, uncle or someone knowledgeable that you trust.