Marston said that home inspections are important -- whether the house is newly built or an existing home --if the buyer isn't knowledgeable about the house or doesn't have $100,000 in the bank to spend on repairs.

Experts stressed that sellers should get their home inspected before putting it on the market. Marston added that it gives the seller an opportunity to get any problems corrected.

Home inspectors are not only there to look for defects in the home. The inspection is meant to be a learning process for the buyer or seller so they know where things are, such as the water shutoff valve.

“The inspector is really the critical person. You need to inspect the inspector,” Kuhn said.

She said home inspectors’ credentials are critical. In 33 states, there is some form of regulations for inspectors; however, they can fall short and vary in criteria.

Kuhn said the inspection should take about two to three hours and the focus is on the major elements of the house. A professional home inspector will check a representative number of electrical outlets, for example.

Kuhn said home inspectors should encourage buyers or sellers to accompany them during the inspection and to take down their own notes.

New Home Tips

For new homes, Marston suggested more than one home inspection as the home gets built.

Have an inspection before the drywall is installed on studs and then before water or electric are installed, and then again on the final walk-through of the home.

New-To-You Home

On homes that are not new, Marston said to have a three- to 10-day window for the home inspection prior to buying. He said then if the inspector encounters many issues, he or she can do an addendum inspection to see if items have been corrected.

Inspector Inspection

Warning signs with home inspectors should be if they are not taking notes during the walk-through. Kuhn said that good inspectors use computer-generated reports.

“The inspector does not want to rely on their memory,” she said.

She said another warning sign is if they are taking shortcuts when checking things. She said an inspector should make a good effort to get into obstructed areas, such as crawl spaces.

Tom Kraeutler, host of the syndicated radio show and podcast called “The Money Pit” in New Jersey, said that consumers might not want to take the recommendation of their real estate agent when it comes to hiring a home inspector, to ensure fairness in the inspection.

“Watch out for inspectors that do repairs,” he added. “Never hire an inspector who’s in construction.”

They may have motives to bulk up repairs to increase their income.