The home inspection is one of several very important steps for the buyer. When a good inspector is chosen, their report tells you almost everything you need to know about the home. This results in an informed decision as to how to proceed.
As soon as your offer is accepted, call your home inspector. Schedule the inspection as quickly as possible. Make sure you agree on a day when you can be there to follow the inspector everywhere and hear first hand what he is finding. If you do not understand the issue or need to know what to do, ask them. A good inspector will be happy to explain anything and everything. Be aware that even the best inspector will not be able to inspect everything. They recommend a roofer do a roof inspection if they believe the roof needs it. Perhaps a soil engineer if the home is on a slope and there is some question of the stability of the hillside. Termite damage/concerns require a termite inspector who is a specialist in their own right.
Once you have paid for the report, the inspector sends you a copy as quickly as they are done writing up their findings. This report breaks the findings into 3 categories: 1) Things that are fine as is, 2) items that need monitoring and 3) those that need repair or replacement. It is this last category of the report that is used as the basis for requesting repairs, if warranted.
Once the report is issued, it is a good idea to meet with your Realtor to discuss what repairs can reasonably be asked of the seller. Not everything flagged as an issue should be requested. Items that are not a health or safety issue will likely be refused by the seller. There is no point in creating tension over them. However, ask for the items that are health or safety concerns and insist for them to be repaired/replaced. Sometimes the seller will offer a credit against the sale price instead repairs. You will have to decide what is more important to you, getting the repairs done before you move in or getting the keys to your new home.
You are entitled to inspecting the home to assure yourself that the repairs were made. This is typically done 5 or fewer days from the close of escrow. This is to satisfy yourself that everything is in order before title is recorded and money changes hands. You need to sign off on this verification. Escrow can be adjusted to reflect a last minute credit if a repair has not been made and then recording and money transfer goes on as planned.
If you need a reputable inspector who is up-to-date on their training, thorough in their home inspection and clear in their write-up, you can always ask me. Contact me at 760 622 5087 or firstname.lastname@example.org