The comment "We had to watch every penny that we spent from our savings to cover a payment shock. Peoples' costs can vary from month to month especially during tax time so it was annoying" suggests the real problem here. The NACA qualification process is based on a tight household budget and responsible financial management. The fact that financial discipline was annoying or inconvenient should not be a greater priority than obtaining a solid home with a mortgage that saves tens of thousands of dollars compared to any other loan product.
The fact that all repairs discovered through the inspection are required to be completed by properly licensed tradespeople should be an obvious advantage to the homeowner. There is no accountability for the quality of the workmanship done by unlicensed and uninsured workmen, and the poor quality of the work often results in the work having to be re-done which results in a greater cost in the long run compared to having done properly the first time.
The conflict of interest in "Our real estate agent is a carpenter and he was willing to help us with the work" goes without saying.
What's perhaps most disturbing is the fact that every NACA member is made aware from the very start that all repairs must be performed by properly licensed and insured tradespeople. It is in fact stated very clearly in the Home Buyer's Workbook every NACA member receives at their very first workshop.
The reason the NACA program works is because of its insistence to strict adherence to every detail of the program, and our refusal to take the shortcuts that created the housing bubble to begin with. Nobody ever said the NACA process is fast or easy, but doing things the right way rarely is.