When you buy a house without getting a professional home inspection, you risk expensive repairs for problems no one disclosed.
But, even if you get an inspection, you can still end up with costly problems. A lot depends on who does the inspection.
To see how much difference there can be from one inspector to another, consumer advocates at Checkbook.org rented a house, identifed 28 problems - some minor, some potentially major - and hired 12 home inspectors to do a full inspection.
Get recommendations from friends and relatives who've worked with thorough inspectors who don't rush the job.
Before you hire an inspector, ask questions:
Will you inspect the crawl space?
Will you test all of the windows?
Will you test all outlets and lights?
Will you check the appliances, including for recalls?
Will you run the heating and air conditioning systems to see how well they work?
Brasler also recommends asking for a sample report so you can see what a typical inspection by that inspector entails.
"If you're going to pay 550 dollars plus, on average, for an inspection, you'd like them to at least inspect for a lot of stuff and be really diligent, and a lot of these inspectors just weren't," Brasler said.