I always recommend that buyers have homes inspected prior to closing. Even newer homes may have problems. An inspection cannot offer a 100% guarantee that no problems exist, but they can help you "hedge your bets" and make you a better informed buyer.
A professional inspection concerns the main systems of the home, for example the heating and cooling systems, the roof, the foundation, the plumbing, the electrical circuits, etc. It is usually not required by a lender, but is done at the request of the buyers. In the state of Florida anyone can be licensed to do home inspections. There is no state mandated training or testing for professional inspectors. As long as they have a business license, they can do inspections. That is why I recommend that you only use a Certified Home Inspector. These inspectors have been trained and certified by an independent organization. One of the best known of these is the American Society of Home Inspectors or ASHI. If you click on the name in the previous sentence or on the link below you will be taken to the ASHI site where you can learn more about its certification requirements and the benefits of using an ASHI inspector. You will also see a place where you can enter the zip code of the area where the home you are purchasing is located. A list of inspectors who service that area will appear. I suggest you call several and find out what their work entails, what they charge, what type of report they will give you, and what limitations their inspections will have (for example, they cannot rip up carpeting or pull down walls). You may also want to ask friends and family for their recommendations.
Most inspectors will be happy to have you present while they are doing their work and will answer any questions you have concerning their findings. I recommend that you attend the inspection if you can.
The results of a professional inspection can be extremely useful if it becomes necessary to negotiate repairs prior to the closing of the sale.
John Elwell - REALTOR
Bill Nye Realty, Inc.
Licensed in Florida