Remember that the inspection is limited by visibility, inspectors canít see behind walls, under carpets or things like in ground plumbing; they are also prohibited from damaging property. An example of damage would be pulling up carpet to look underneath or putting a hole in a wall for exploratory purposes.
The cost of an inspection may vary between inspectors but for the most part the fee is determined by age, square footage and design. Potentially additional services like wells, septic systems, or items like a radon test may require an additional fee. The inspection addresses the current condition of your prospective home and indicates what may be in need of repair or replacement. Whenever possible you should be present for your inspection, itís not required but itís recommended. If you follow the inspector during the inspection you will have a better understanding of the house, its condition, how systems work and how they should be maintained. By being there you can ask questions, gain a better working knowledge of the home and the written report will be easier to understand since youíve seen everything first hand.
The price of the inspection is worth ever dollar a good inspector charges. Small things like flashing around a chimney that needs to be redone can prevent a leak that leads to ceiling and moisture damage and becomes a costly repair instead of a minor expense. Improper drainage around a house can result in foundation damage, again an inspector will advise you if there are problem areas and what they would recommend to correct the problem or if there has already been foundation damage.
Sometimes in the case of things like a foundation with problems, if significant enough the inspector may recommend you consult a specialist like a structural engineer before you proceed. Remember you want to know as much as possible before you complete the purchase. Finding out after you have bought the house that you have major unexpected problems that would of shown up in an inspection can be a much greater expense than hiring a good inspector.
Sometimes an inspection reveals no current problems but even then the inspector makes you aware that certain things are showing signs of wear and may need to be fixed in the near future. For example if an inspection reveals that a roof has no current problems but appears to be nearing the end of its useful life, then you know to keep an eye out for problems or signs of leaks starting, additional you know to start saving money towards a new roof. Items like an aging roof do not mean that the seller has to replace the roof nor is it something that changes the terms of your offer. The key thing here is to remember the phrase "it is performing the function for which it was intended", in other words it was serviceable at the time of the inspection.