An examination of the physical condition of a home should be included as a condition of closing the sale. Your realtor will make arrangements for a pro inspector to look for defects in the roof, plumbing, electrical, cooling and heating systems, paint, windows, doors, and foundation. The inspector will also check for dry rot, mold and pest infestations, and should check outside for any problems with grading, drainage or retaining walls. You may like to arrange for inspections for mold, asbestos, lead or radon. Depending upon the property, you might wish to ask for testing well water, oil tanks or septic systems.
Most inspectors are qualified to conduct any of those tests, though some might require additional fees. The seller is required to provide a disclosure sheet on any issues of which they're aware. This is only a starting point for the inspector, however, since there are likely problems the sellers either do not know exist or have actually forgotten about. It's most common for buyers to have the examination done after they've made an offer and the sale of the home is contingent on the buyers approval of the results of the inspections and resulting repairs. Bear in mind that all objectionable examination issues must be repairs and not improvements.
A repair can be a broken window, for instance, and a vast improvement will be new counter tops. The examination usually takes two or 3 hours and will usually cost between $200 to $500 depending upon the size, age, location and type of home. Buyers are urged to be present throughout the examination so that they can ask questions, learn about maintenance of the property and get a feeling of which issues are serious and that are fairly minor. The inspector will provide a written report of all findings that would be presented to both the sellers and buyers.