Not every home improvement project goes off without a hitch. That is where a property inspection comes in - these licensed professionals can take a look around and figure out where that duct tape solution wasn't the best idea.

This is especially important before a real estate transaction. Buyers and sellers are under a lot of pressure, and an extra set of eyes can simplify the process. Those looking to purchase a new house will want to be thorough, in case the previous tenants took a few liberties with their do-it-yourself repairs.

When DIY just doesn't work

There are a lot of people across the country who wouldn't dream of calling in an expert when it comes to home improvements. However, just because they have confidence doesn't mean they have the skills to back it up. A home inspection can find out where these common DIY disasters occurred, and prevent a new buyer from walking into a sticky situation. 

According to Marilyn Lewis in an article for MSN Real Estate, DIY nightmares can run from average to extreme. On the more severe end of the spectrum, one homeowner decided to undertake his own roof repair, Fred Spaulding, remodeler and secretary-treasurer of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, told Lewis. Afterward, the house's circuit breaker kept tripping. The problem was a ceiling fan left hanging in the attic because the homeowner didn't want to disconnect it when working on the roof. Instead, it wore down the wires and the insulation and became a serious fire hazard.

Not all problems are that unusual, however. Impatient homeowners may use spray-foam insulation to fill in a hole, instead of replacing drywall, Spaulding explained to Lewis. Also, duct tape is a common fix - it has been used to connect two pipes, hold pieces of drywall together, or even install a new shower head.

"I think they know these are shortcuts," Spaulding told Lewis. "But they just don't think they'll ever get caught. They think, 'It'll last until I leave the house.'"

Before anyone buys a home, or after they've completed their own DIY project, a property inspection professional should be called. Taking the time to have this step completed can save a lot of money in extra repairs in the long run.

When DIY is the right - or wrong - idea

Taking on large improvement projects without help can be a good way for homeowners to save a little money. However, if the job isn't completed correctly it could end up costing more, or even become a serious safety hazard. In that case, people should always make sure they know how to do a job well before ever starting.

According to Angela Colley in an article for MoneyTalksNews, homeowners should ask themselves several questions before starting a new DIY project. For example, is specialized knowledge required to pull it off? Some tasks - like a new HVAC system - require expertise. On the other hand, simple projects like painting, weather stripping or landscaping could be undertaken alone. Also, a professional should always be called in for major electrical work, plumbing or foundation repair.

Another useful tip for homeowners thinking about tackling a job on their own is to ask a professional for advice, Colley noted. If an expert is known, they could provide additional insight into a task, and whether or not the resident is up to the hard work ahead. Special tools may be needed, or the DIY project could have a serious impact on the overall appearance of a house.

A home inspection can be another smart step after any renovation or maintenance project - no matter how big or small. Homeowners should always take extra precautions when working on their property, and buyers should also be cautious before closing a deal.