First of all the inspector should be licensed in the State of New York. The inspector is supposed to thoroughly check the house up and down, inside and out to make sure there are no hidden problems with the condition of the house. The inspector will check all the mechanical systems, the roof, foundation and plumbing.
Some, but not all inspectors are also licensed to check for termites. If your inspector is not licensed to check for termites, then you would have a separate inspection for that. In addition, if you are concerned about lead based paint, you may have to hire a separate inspector for that as most regular inspectors are not licensed to check for lead based paint (that is an additional and separate type of license).
Your average inspection on a typical house in Brooklyn probably takes an hour or two. It is a good idea for you to be there with the inspector when the inspection takes place and pay close attention. In the end the inspector will give you a written report, but if you pay attention during the inspection, you will be better able to grasp the contents of the report.
The main thing you want to make sure of when the inspection is done are the big tickets items/expenses. things like the heating system, plumbing system, electrical system and roof. Another item that sometimes is overlooked is the waste line from the house. Most inspectors do not check the waste line for the house because it is a cumbersome task and they are not required to. The only way to really check a waste line is to have a plumber insert a special video camera type devise all the way down the waste line until it meets with the city sewer line. In my 20 years of selling homes, I have yet to see in inspector do a sewer line check like that. I have had buyers who are concerned about this hire a separate plumber to check it out. It will probably cost about $200-$300, but it is worth it because replacing a new sewer line usually will cost you $10,000 and up!
If you have further questions, please contact me direct. Good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783