Once you get your new home safely under contract, the first step is to order the home inspection. Typically, a buyer requests a 10 business day due diligence period to perform all desired inspections. It is important to order the inspection immediately after confirmation of an accepted offer. Inspectors can be very busy at times and may take a few days to get to your house. It is best to schedule your inspection time ASAP so that you have time to review the results of the inspection and negotiate with the seller, in the event items need to be addressed.
You can expect to pay in the $300-$500 range for a home inspection depending on the size of the home and the systems you would like inspected. A home inspector usually does a pretty thorough job of looking over a house. If the home you are purchasing has a hydronic heating system, septic system or a well you will need to also order a specialty inspection for these units individually.
You as the buyer will need to hire an inspector of your choice. Realtors can recommend inspectors but ultimately it is the buyers choice which inspector to hire. It is best to talk with three inspectors and see who fits best for your situation and schedule.
Good luck in your house hunting excursion!