Inspecting the physical condition of a house is an important part of the home-buying process and should be included in your purchase contract as a condition of closing the sale. One or more professional inspectors should look for defects or malfunctions in the building's structure, systems, and physical components, such as the roof, plumbing, electrical and heating/cooling systems, floor surfaces and paint, windows and doors, and foundation, and detect pest infestations or dry rot and similar damage. The inspector should also examine the land around the house for issues concerning grading, drainage, retaining walls, and plants affecting the house.
A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home. Home inspections are usually conducted by a home inspector who has the training to perform such inspections. The inspector prepares and delivers to the client a written report of findings. The client then uses the knowledge gained to make informed decisions about their pending real estate purchase. The home inspector describes the condition of the home at the time of inspection but does not guarantee future condition, efficiency, or life expectancy of systems or components.
Another, less commonly used possibility is to ask the seller to let you do a "preinspection" before submitting your offer. Why, given the cost of these inspections, would you do this? Because if you're in a situation where you're competing against other buyers (which can happen in any market, if a house is particularly desirable), this can help you set your offer apart. You'd most likely be able to submit an offer without an inspection contingency, thus reassuring the seller that your offer price is firm, not something you're likely to whittle away at after you're in contract, based on whatever a later inspection reveals.
Hire a Professional Inspector
Hire a general contractor or home inspector to inspect all major house systems, from top to bottom, including the roof, plumbing, electrical and air conditioning systems and drainage. This will take two or three hours and cost you from $400 to $800, depending on the location, size and type of home. Accompany the inspector during the examination, so that you can learn more about the maintenance and preservation of the property, ask questions, and get a real sense of which problems are serious and which are relatively minor.