A home inspection is traditionally performed once a residential property has been purchased but more and more buyers are either placing the successful passage of a home inspection as part of the conditions of their Offer To Purchase, or even taking the risk to pay for the home inspection themselves prior to concluding their offer.
In most cases, the buyer has approximately three to five days after the offer has been accepted, subject to the terms of the offer, to contract a professional, qualified, and reputable home inspector. This property condition investigator will conduct a detailed analysis of all of a home's major systems to determine their marketability, condition, and likelihood that they will require maintenance or repair expenditures in the near future.
The average buyer can easily overlook major and even structural defects as they may not be immediately evident to the untrained observer. A home inspection can reveal aspects as relatively minor as an exterior railing which needs to be more securely affixed, all the way to shifting in the foundation which could cost as much to fix as the entire price of the home!