"I just remember that the inspector repeatedly mentioned how great of a condition the house was in and applauded the former owners," Treher told AOL Real Estate. "Unfortunately, that was a veneer."
Treher also recommended that homebuyers hire a remodeling contractor to look at the property. It's important, he noted, to have a professional inspect and dissect the home with "no relationship to the real estate machine" -- particularly someone who is able to assess the quality of workmanship in the home and spot shoddy DIY attempts.
And because you can never be too sure, some poking around yourself doesn't hurt either, according to Steve Sochacki, an Ohio-based Realtor. According to Sochacki, a thorough visual inspection -- looking out for cracks, sloped floors or failed siding with a flashlight and binoculars -- is never a bad idea. Braun also advised that after your own physical inspection, homeowners should do thorough background inspections on the home. This includes asking the Realtor and seller many questions and reading the seller's disclosure documents very carefully. Doing added research on the property and the neighborhood can also save homebuyers future grief.
"The recent sales history of the property can give clues: a house that sells every two years like clockwork, for example, may have an annoying neighbor or some other chronic problem. Police blotters are also full of information about 'trouble houses' in the community, potentially including the one you are looking at," Braun told AOL Real Estate. "Also, agents and sellers are required to disclose to potential buyers anything that might materially affect the buyer's use and enjoyment of the home. Known physical problems, like a leaky water heater, are included in this requirement."
Home warranties can also protect homebuyers from problems, particularly in their first year in their new home. Though Sochacki isn't their biggest advocate ("I've found home warranties to be ineffective in many of my own personal experiences, with sellers often reneging on what they cover," Sochaki said), many Realtors still recommend it as another way of protecting yourself.