It sounds as if you do not have an agent representing you under a Buyer's Agency Agreement. (If you do, speak with your agent.) Regardless, this type of question demonstrates one of the MANY reasons you should hire an agent to represent you. (Another important reason is that, by default, all agents in New Jersey work for the seller - not you! - if you are not represented under a Buyer's Agency Agreement. Agents also have database search capabilities that are far more powerful and comprehensive than those the consumer has access to via Realtor.com, Trulia.com, Zillow.com, or other public real estate sites.) Why not enter into a Buyer's Agency Agreement with a smart agent? - it typically does not cost you even a penny!
With respect to this property you like, if you had hired an agent, your agent would be able to recommend qualified and trustworthy inspectors to evaluate the situation. Absent representation by an agent, however, I recommend you hire your own inspectors. You should not only hire a licensed general home inspector, but also a licensed environmental/mold hazard engineer and, perhaps, a licensed structural engineer to inspect and evaluate the situation.
How do you find such inspectors and how to you determine which inspectors are good? Without an agent, you will have to search on your own and you might be at a severe disadvantage in evaluating their competence and quality. Which is why, once again, you might want to consider hiring a knowledgeable agent now.
And, not incidentally, if there are issues, your agent can help guide you about whether to walk away or tender an offer and negotiate based on your inspection findings. Some agents (like me) even have considerable formal training in negotiation skills and in contract law, enabling them to maximize your likelihood of negotiating a top value deal for your dollar while ensuring that your financial exposure under the terms of the contract is minimized.
Jonathan E. Brill, Ph.D.
Keller Williams Realty
Beowulf Plaza, Suite 200
1814 Route 70 East
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003
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