The above is a question that I'm most commonly asked. The reason for a pre-purchase home inspection should be obvious. In most cases a house is the single most expensive investment that most people will make in their entire lifetime.
Yes a house is an investment not just a purchase. as with most purchased items you want to be assured that your getting a fair deal.
Just for a moment let's take this question out of context and apply it to the purchase of a used automobile.
Most used vehicles are sold in "as is condition". For the sake of discussion let's say that you purchased this vehicle for $10,000.00. Remember, there is no warranty. If you purchased the vehicle from a dealer, you might get a 90 day warranty. If you so desire, extended warranties are generally available from the dealer at an additional cost.
This additional cost is minimal and it usually covers most major components. Without the extended warranty your $10,000.00 automobile could quickly become a $14,000.00 vehicle if the transmission fails or needs replacement.
The same rules apply to to purchase of a home. Failed items or defects that are discovered after the purchase are not covered.
That is why you must get a pre-purchase home inspection performed by either a licensed home inspector or a licensed engineer before closing on your home. Having the house inspected by a licensed professional of your choice levels the playing field. The home inspection may offer you bargaining points at the time of contract or closing.
Remember, just replacing a roof could cost thousands of dollars. A home inspection performed before purchase offers you peace of mind and a 1 year warranty on the inspectors findings.
Most home inspectors also carry "E&O" insurance . This type of insurance covers your purchase for major repair items that your inspector may have overlooked.
Of course the odds of a new home having defects are greatly reduced, remember the contractor, city, or state most likely inspected the home prior to it being offered for sale.
Keep in mind that, this was their inspection not yours ! The answer to this question is a tossup but remember , it's what you don't know that can hurt you. Play it safe, have it inspected.