It is not a good idea to forgo home inspection when buying property

Q: Is it ever a good idea to forgo a home inspection?

A: Home-buying television programs sometimes show buyers removing the home inspection contingency from their purchase offers to win bidding wars.

You shouldn't follow their examples.

Home repairs can get expensive fast, and when you've just closed on a home, your cash reserves are usually depleted.

A problem with any of the home's major systems, including plumbing, electrical, roofing, heating and air conditioning, could cost thousands to fix.

Unless you're financially prepared to manage a fixer-upper, you'll want to buy a home where everything appears to be in good working order .

Another reason to have a home inspection is to avoid overpaying. If your offer price is based on the home being in excellent condition but you find out after taking ownership that it's only in passable condition, you've overpaid by thousands of dollars that you'll never recoup. All the hard work it took you to accumulate those savings will be wasted.

Don't think it's safe to skip an inspection because the home is brand-new and comes with a builder's warranty.

Q: What kinds of things will an inspector look for?

A: A home can have many serious and expensive problems that only a trained professional will be able to spot:

■ Safety hazards like structural problems, mold or asbestos.

■ Major defects like a cracked foundation, leaky basement or improperly caulked windows and sills.

■ A roof, furnace, water heater or air conditioner that will need to be replaced soon.

You may think that common sense will help you spot any potential problems in a home, but unless you're an experienced professional contractor, there are tons of potential issues that you wouldn't spot the warning signs of or even know to look out for in the first place.