The Purpose of the Inspection
Home inspections are usually optional — but always a good idea. Qualified inspectors can tell you if systems within the house are adequate and working correctly. How would you feel if you bought a property during cold weather, then found out the next summer that its air-conditioning system isn't capable of cooling the house? A good inspector can provide those details and will give you feedback on nearly every aspect of the structure.
A home inspector evaluates the structure of the house and gives details about components such as the roof, plumbing, electrical system, heating and air-conditioning units, appliances, insulation, doors, and windows. Inspectors may have seen hundreds, or even thousands, of homes and know exactly what to look for. They usually know all the little quick-fix tricks that sellers try and will alert you if they find cover-up attempts.
Some buyers decide an inspection isn't necessary for a brand-new structure. That's a bad decision, because new constructions are rarely problem-free. Builders offer warranties, but it's a lot easier to get a builder to resolve problems before the sale than afterward, when the money has already changed hands.
If you want a property so much that you're ignoring severe problems, an inspection can help bring you back to reality. The inspector will take a clinical look at the house, then give you only the facts — and that's what you need to make decisions about going forward with the purchase. If you do decide to proceed, at least you'll have a better understanding of the time, energy, and money you must devote to a property that needs many repairs.
The property might be such a wreck that, even if you know you want it, you don't know where to start. A thorough inspection can be valuable because it will uncover areas in critical need of repair and point out safety issues that can help you prioritize your repair schedule.