Before you set up a closing date for your home purchase, you will need to get a home inspection. While you may have already signed your contract, it may be voided if severe problems are discovered during the inspection. Real estate contracts often have clauses that state "pending home inspection."

If the problem that your home inspector finds is one that will be expensive, the seller may be required to reimburse you for the repairs, have the repairs done before you move in, or void the contract if you don't want to have the repairs made. It is important to note, however, that if you void the contract based upon the home inspection, the seller may be able to keep the earnest money. While mortgage lenders don't usually mandate home inspections, you should consider the following reasons why you should get one.

Mold Infestation

If the home you are interested in had problems with roof leaks or floods, chances are that mold is lurking somewhere inside the structure. The inspector will evaluate the interior of the home for signs of mold and water damage. They may inspect the floor tiles in the basement, evaluate the baseboards, look for paint or wallpaper bubbling, and inspect the drywall.

The inspector may also look for signs of mold infestation inside your ductwork and ventilation system. If mold is found, the inspector may refer you to a mold specialist who can remove it, or if the mold growth is too extensive, the inspector may recommend that the entire ventilation or ductwork system be replaced.

Foundation Problems

Foundation problems may be the most expensive repairs to make. It is essential that people examine the basement walls and floors when touring a home that they are interested in purchasing. Even small hairline cracks on the concrete walls and floors of a basement can indicate a problem with the foundation. While small fissures may simply mean that the property is "settling," they can mean that your foundation is unstable.

Other telltale signs of foundation issues that your inspector may be able to identify are sagging or uneven floors, and doors that don't properly open and close. The only way to know for sure if the foundation is sound is by getting the home inspected. 

To make sure that structural, electrical, or plumbing problems are identified before you purchase a new home, hire a home inspector. If the inspection reveals any major problems, you can then negotiate with the seller to reimburse you for the repairs, or if warranted, void the contract.