Buying a home new or old is typically the single biggest investing decision a person makes in his or her life. A lot may be at stake when some minor looking problem turns out to be major safety hazard and may involve costly repairs. While many people have conflicting viewpoints about home inspections, I strongly believe that a comparatively small cost of inspection can offset future higher costs of repairs or replacements and in some cases also act as a way out of a buying deal for a troubled house.
Home inspectors are able to potentially identify some or all of the defects present depending on the expertise level of the inspector. Most of the inspectors working in this field, especially those registered with professional organisations like InterNACHI follow standard work practices and prepare credible inspection reports that can be relied upon. The inspection should cover a variety of areas such as Roofing, Grading, Electrical, Plumbing, Foundation, Heating , Ventilation and Air Condition if installed, Fire Safety, Water Heating System, Heat Insulation, etc.
Its also important to keep in mind that home inspectors while may be certified are not able to see behind walls and can not be expected to inspect each and every part of a home in about two to three hours of work. You can definitely ask your Realtor for some referral and do some research before hiring a home inspector.
All said and done this step towards home buying could be the most important one and help you make a well informed decision.