Whether you are considering buying a house, duplex, multifamily dwelling or condominium; a complete non biased professional examination of the building should be performed before final purchase.
A home is one of the largest investments you will ever make. While an inspection cannot remove all the risk, of the purchase, a professional inspector can remain objective in his analysis, having no emotional ties to the property. Sellers may have no objection to a professional inspector spending time in their home to evaluate the property, but may object to buyers alone, performing the same task. A trained professional inspector will help you know, as much as possible, what to expect after the purchase. Serious structural problems can lurk under fresh paint. Has anyone been "in" the attic lately? Homes have good points as well, the trained professional will point them out and offer tips on maintenance as well as suggestions on preventative measures that will help avoid future problems.
The basic inspection should include a visual check of the grade, sidewalks, driveways, garage, roof, chimneys, flues, flashing, soil stack, attic, insulation, ventilation, walls, ceilings, floors, bathrooms, plumbing, fixtures, appliances, water heater, furnace, electrical, foundation and structure.
Your local building authority has the ability to decide. Many municipalities adopt national and state codes and modify them for local conditions. A professional home inspector will describe in detail the current condition of the home. The professional inspection is not an appraisal as to the homes value nor is it a municipal code inspection.
Many factors effect the fee for the home inspection; condition, size, age, location, features, crawl spaces, special structures, etc. Considering the large investment in a home, the fee for the inspection can be a rather minor expense if a major flaw is uncovered. If the inspection dosnt turn up major problems you can complete the transaction with peace of mind knowing you have made a well informed decision.
For every home there is a buyer. Some homes are priced where they are because of known defects. The professional inspector attempts to make you aware of all safety items and major expenses. If problems are found you may decide that this is not the house for you, or you may determine that here is your "diamond in the rough". The choice is yours.
You are encouraged to attend the inspection as there is no substitute for being able to visually examine reported items in detail.