One of the most important things you can do when buying a home, regardless of type, age, or size, is to have a good home inspection. With this type of inspection, the professional inspector would look at the home’s structure and condition. The key is to work with a professional, someone that will be looking out for your best interest by checking literally everything from the attic beams, garbage disposal, electrical system, sewer, insulation, heating and air, and more.
Keep in mind that home inspections are not always a requirement. Additionally, the cost of a home inspection will vary depending on a number of factors but in general, you would expect to pay around $200. Just remember that paying for a home inspection is worth every penny in that it could easily save you thousands of dollars in unseen problems. For example, just imagine bypassing the inspection, moving into your new home, and then a few months down the road, finding that you have a serious structural problem, rotted out flooring in the bathroom, or major termite damage.
When you hire a professional inspector, it is crucial that you get a detailed statement regarding your right to the home inspection. This way, if more problems are found that what you can afford or want to deal with, you could have legal ground on which to back out of the deal. Then, you want everything in writing regarding who will repair what. Typically, once problems are found, negotiations between the buyer and seller begin regarding who will fix what. Even so, some types of loans such as FHA will require the seller to handle certain problems. By getting the details in writing, you know exactly what expenses you will have at the time of closing.
Just remember, you want to work with a licensed professional, someone who has been conducting inspections for quite some time. This person should have experience in construction along with inspection, and be there to help you as the buyer. A good inspector will walk through the list of problems found. With that, he or she will tell you which problems are serious, and which ones are minor. With that, you can make the decision on what problems you want the seller to handle. Most often, some problems will be found, which is typical when selling a home so be prepared to have some added expense, although usually for the buyer, it would be minimal.