I often asked if I recommend getting a home inspection. Do you get your car looked at when the check engine light comes on? YES, YOU SHOULD GET A PROPERTY INSPECTION. I really cannot stress this enough. Pay the money, its worth every penny! When you are viewing properties you are not going to be looking at the electrical panel, testing the water heater, or looking for leaks You are going to be seeing if your furniture fits, if the layout works, and if it gets enough natural light.
A professional home inspector is vital to the transaction. These people are the ones who can help save you thousands of dollars or better yet, prevent you from buying a money pit. A professional inspector is going to be looking at and for everything in the property. Electrical, plumbing, appliances, along with roofs and foundations if its a single family home. Their job is to mark down every single red flag they find and provide all of this in a report for you to review. Now don't freak out if the report comes back with a lot in it. They will be marking down every ding and scratch they find. So, a lot of the report may be cosmetic or very minor things that comes with buying something used. This is normal! What you will want to focus on are the big items. The ones that can be very expensive to fix or can cause harm. For example, the electrical box is wired wrong and is a safety/fire hazard or the stove doesn't work.
Once you review the report you and your agent will talk over any issues that concern you. KEEP IN MIND, YOU CAN ONLY NEGOTIATE ON MATERIAL DEFECTS AND SAFETY HAZARDS. Read that last sentence like a hundred times and remember it. Unless you are buying new construction you can not negotiate on cosmetic issues like scratches on the floor or paint issues. This comes with the territory of buying something used. You're agent will advise you on what is the best way to negotiate these major items with the sellers.
NOTE: If new construction you will ask the developer to fix everything on the report. Since its new it needs to be perfect!
Make sure you are hiring a great inspector with a great reputation. Ask your agent for recommendations and do your own research. There are inspectors out there whose business model is to try and kill your deal so they can get a second inspection out of you in the next place you get an offer accepted on.