DIY and the Home Inspector’s Job Security

I could write a song, “Ode to DIY”.

We home inspectors owe much of our existence to the home improvement Do-It-Yourself centers, books, and the home-owner advice blogosphere. Without these immeasurable encyclopedias of advice unfollowed, and building supplies and tools misused, our profession, our job, would be as mundane as mowing the lawn. All of our Building Code knowledge and familiarity with manufacturer’s installation instructions would be wasted on bloviated speeches at home inspection association meetings and seminars by home inspectors longing for recognition of their expertise.

Our favorite inspection report terms, “improper,” “substandard,” and “inadequate” would be all but lost in the ether of unused bits and bytes of computer files in our expensive report-writing software. The jargon of the home inspection profession would be reduced to “New,” “Not New,” and “Old.” Our home inspection reports could be reduced to a single-page checkbox form with 10 or 12 repeated lines: The [ . . . ] is older, worn and/or deteriorated and needs replacement or repainting.

It goes without saying that without the DIY influence and affects our home inspection fees would be half of what they are.

I always enjoy eavesdropping on the orange aprons at the local DIY center as they describe in detail to their customers how to install most anything improperly. It gives me peace of mind to know that there will be little or no improvement in DIY “home improvement.” The orange aprons are wizards at mismatching fittings, showing off their favorite improper materials, and demonstrating in detail how professionals never do it.

There is a vast and historical array of how-to books with step-by-step instructions that will help any homeowner make crooked what should be straight, point downward what should be pointing up, slope what should be level and level what should be sloped. All one needs is the right tools, and after skimming the illustrations in one of the thousands of home improvement publications, and you too can get it wrong in just one weekend.

One does not even have to pretend to be qualified or even have an orange apron to give home improvement advice on the internet. Pinterest or Google “DIY” and your dreams of a glorious new kitchen, a serene master bath, or a luscious landscape will become temptations no homeowner with a hammer, a shovel and a credit card could resist.

And let us not leave out DIY TV. Forget an entire weekend wasted, we can do this in less than an hour. Not only will your home improvements be perfect, but you will look like a TV star doing it.

The home inspector has a song
And it’s not very long
He will save his best notes
For homeowners who do the most
They dig and they hammer
And risk all on the ladder
It’s home improvements they seek
What should it matter
It will be to the Home inspector’s praise
at the end of DIY’s days

Ode To DIY



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