I advocate buyer home inspections conducted by accredited, experienced, full time, inspectors as opposed to your uncle, significant other, builder friend, or father (mother). I can provide the names of several inspectors who have received good grades over the years from my clients, and you are certainly free to investigate this field on your own. The inclusion of an inspection as part of the buying process is provided for in an addendum included with the purchase agreement at the start of negotiations. This provision will normally be accepted by the seller and completion of the inspection will normally be required within 3-5 business days from the date of final agreement on all terms by both parties.
I have never seen a report that did not contain a “laundry list” of defects, because that is the inspector’s job in a nutshell, Inspectors can find themselves in small claims court if they miss something significant in their report. Once you have received the written copy of the report and have evaluated the findings, you can proceed with no changes to the purchase agreement, cancel the agreement (even in the absence of a specific reason), or request that the seller perform certain repairs. In regard to this latter course of action, my view is that health and safety related issues ought to be addressed, in some fashion, by qualified, licensed contractors working under permit. For the most part, this is the seller’s responsibility, though it is negotiable. I would suggest that cosmetics and non critical items listed in the report by handled by the new buyer so that the quality of the work can be monitored and controlled.
This can be a jarring and unnerving part of the home buying process, so continue to bear in mind that these reports tend to be similar in nature and that buyers in the vast majority of instances have survived, prospered and enjoyed their homes and have made them very much their own!