One of the most important parts of the home-buying process is getting an inspection of the condition of the home and this should be included in your purchase contract as a condition of closing the sale. A professional inspector should look for defects or malfunctions in the building's structure, such as the roof, plumbing, or foundation, and detect pest infestations or dry rot and similar damage.
It is typical for a buyer to have the inspection after they're in contract to buy the property. The deal is commonly made contingent on the buyers' approving the results of one or more inspections. The buyer arranges and schedules the inspections and typically your agent will accompany the buyer for the walk through with the inspector.
Be sure you hire an ASHI certified home inspector to inspect all major house systems, from top to bottom, including the roof, plumbing, electrical and heating systems, foundation, and drainage. This will take two to four hours and will cost you from $200 to $500, depending on the location, size, age, and type of home. The inspector will write everything down on the report and will typically walk through with you at the end of the inspection for an hour to point out areas that mat need attention and give you maintenance tips.
It is important to understand that these inspectors do not inspect for things such as mold and radon. If these are things that you would like to have tested then that is a separate inspection that you will also need to make your contract subject to and it will also cost you anywhere from $100-$400 more depending on if you are just doing part of or all of the inspections.