Good advice for all consumers but especially so for someone contemplating the purchase of real estate - in particular a house - new or preowned. You want to protect your investment. Your mortgage holder wants you to protect your investment. We have all heard horror stories of people saddled with huge expenses after spending a significant amount on a down payment and committing to a long-term mortgage payment. Electrical issues, plumbing, insulation and ventilation problems, wet or flooding basements - just a few of the nightmares that can plague a home buyer after possession date. Newly built houses are not immune to these problems either, so do not assume that because it is a brand new house there are no hidden problems. In order to reduce your risk and protect that major investment, you should consider hiring a qualified home inspector before you start your search - leaving you one less item to worry about as you begin what should be an enjoyable experience. As there is no industry standard for certification or qualification in home inspection, you should exercise prudence in your choice of inspector. A professional home inspector has gained his knowledge and expertise through courses, examinations and hard-earned experience. They can be an invaluable aide in helping you to avoid making a huge and costly mistake. Think of them as "guardian angels". A qualified inspector cannot only ferret out problems needing immediate attention but can alert you to matters that, in the excitement of buying a home you may not have considered. Examples include - the cost of heating and cooling your new house as well as issues that, while not a problem at the moment, will need attention in the future - a new roof, for instance. An experienced inspector can also be invaluable in providing maintenance guidance as he has doubtlessly seen every conceivable wear and tear item needing work that you are liable to come across. Buyer beware. When buying real estate, protect your investment; hire a qualified home inspector before you start shopping. Hire a guardian angel.