If a listing says that it needs work, ask your agent to find out if the seller has filled out a Sellers Disclosure form. This is a form where the seller provides all kinds of information on the condition of the property as well as the ages of the appliances, roof, heater etc. Ask to see it. If the cost and extent of the required repairs are a deal breaker make sure your offer stipulates that your offer is contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection. Depending on the type of property, condo, single family, duplex etc., you can have a full property inspection of the roof to basement and all in between for approx. $300-$500. A professional inspection will reveal major and minor repairs that are needed and any deficiencies in the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. You will then have a full and reliable assessment of your anticipated repairs.