As you proceed through the loan process, your loan officer with order an appraisal. The appraiser is selected by the lender and it is his/her job to make the lender feel secure about lending the amount of money you will need to purchase the property. This is in case the mortgage company has to take the property back and sell it. This is what will happen if you do not make the payments on your loan.
In the case of FHA or VA mortgages, the appraiser is also trained to look for specific things that could cause the house to run down quickly or cost you a lot in repairs in the first few years of the loan. FHA and VA appraisers will often issue “requirements” that have to be met before the loan can be funded. Some of the common requirements are: reventing water heaters, removing tree limbs that touch the house, re-roofing, securing gutters, etc. It is important to know that appraisers are NOT inspectors. Many of these issues will have been addressed when you hire an inspector during the inspection phase of your contract. If they were not addressed, you may find that they are an expense the seller will not take care of, so be sure to get the house inspected.
Inspectors are licensed professionals who are working for YOU. Their job is to go over the house and systems in the house to thoroughly check it over. At what ever point the contract indicates, you need to hire an inspector. Most inspection companies will provide you with a detailed report about the house and its condition. When you get the report, it is your job to decide what repairs are important to you and your comfort level.. You and your agent will then prepare a report like addendum tot he earnest money contract indicating that you are or are not willing to proceed with the purchase providing certain things are repaired by the seller. Remember that the clock is ticking. If you do not get this addendum tended in a timely manner, you could lose your earnest money. The seller may not wish to do the repairs you want. This is a time to seriously address your priorities! No matter how much you love the house you need to be objective during this phase.