While it is not a requirement for the transaction of a home I always recommend, and sometime insist, that my clients get a home inspection as well as a pest inspection.
A home inspection is a visual exam of the structure and systems of a house. It details problems with the property and if they’re serious enough to prevent a sale. The three main points of an inspection are physical condition, items in need of repair or replacement, and the remaining useful life of major systems. A home inspector will inspect the interior, the exterior, the roof, and the crawl space.
They’ll also check the condition and age of furnaces, air condition units and hot water heaters. Other items will be checking all the electric outlets, circuit breaker panels and water pressure.
A report won’t cover defects that are not visible, inoperable systems (e.g., A/C during the winter), or code violations.
It’s a good idea to be present during the inspection: you can ask the inspector questions, and the inspector can point out areas of potential trouble. Also if you’re not familiar with a particular region your report may show damage that you think is a deal breaker, but is may not be. For Instance here in Arizona Stucco cracks are a part of a homes life. And while they should not be ignored, most of the time it has not been caused by structural damage, but just the heat and dry air.
Your Realtor® will often accompany you during the inspection, to insure all your concerns are met and that they have first hand knowledge of the homes particular problems
Expect an inspection to take 2-5 hours (old homes may take longer), and expect charges of $350-$1000 depending on size and condition of the home
The seller is not required to make repairs, but the buyer can use the report in negotiating. The inspection report is not necessarily a price negotiating tool, but often a seller that does not want to make repairs will give a monetary concession in lieu of repairs.
To hire an inspector, get recommendations from your Realtor@ or online. In Arizona home inspectors are licensed and tested Be sure to ask about references, memberships in professional associations, professional training, and experience.