While you probably won't be as lucky as the Holmes Inspection home owners, to have a famous TV show pay for all of your repairs, prioritizing your home inspection is a key element when buying a new home. A home inspection ensures that the major infrastructure of the house is intact and will identify any major - and minor - repairs which you might want the owners to take care of before the purchase.
A Qualified Home Inspection is Part of a Smart Home Purchase - Don't Skip It!
Hire a licensed and experienced contractor
It's so awesome that your cousin has built three homes of this own without ever having a construction license. It's equally awesome he's willing to do your home inspection for free. But when it comes to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a home, which may have thousands of dollars-worth of "invisible" damage/construction errors, you need a licensed and experienced professional to take a look for you. Many professional home inspection companies offer limited warranties on inspections, which gives you 90-days or so for your cousin to locate any defects which were missed.
Don't just go with the cheapest bid. Spending a small(ish) amount now is the difference between walking away or being stuck with a Money Pit.
Is the home up to code?
In addition to major construction issues, like a roof that's about to cave in or shoddy electrical wiring, your home inspector is going to be looking at little nitty-gritty details you would never have even thought about such as:
- HVAC wear-and-tear
- Potential pest damage
- Chimney status
- Pool leaks/cracks
- Foundation/basement cracks or improper slopes
- Presence of harmful chemicals/materials
The last bullet point is key - without a home inspector who knows what s/he is doing, you could purchase a home with outdated asbestos infested flooring or insulation. There may be lead paint on the window sills you caught your toddler cheerfully chewing on when you toured the home. NOW is the time to locate and remedy these issues.
Honor the Inspection Results
Getting a poor report back from your home inspector isn't the end of the dream. You can negotiate with buyers as to what repairs they will make beforehand, and/or a price reduction which will allow you to make the repairs after you home is purchased. At the end of the day, you want to feel 100% satisfied with your new home purchase and a professional home inspection is one way to make sure that's the case.