If you are buying a bank-owned or foreclosed property, you might be getting a good deal, but you never know what else may come with the purchase. Unforeseen issues with the home and surprises down the road are more likely among these types of purchases. For example, not having a tenant for weeks or months on end could create some issues with a home that might not be noticeable at first glance. Sure the grass is unkempt, but what state is the foundation and the plumbing in? These are important questions that need to be answered before you sign on the dotted line.

The best way to learn about every aspect of the home is to have it inspected. A home inspection is a common part of the purchasing process these days, and if you are buying a foreclosed home, it's even more important. Considering there likely won't be an owner to talk to about the property, and since a bank doesn't have first-hand knowledge of the home's true condition, buyers won't have all the necessary information to make their decision. As these properties are typically sold in the condition in which they were left by the previous owner, repairs or other improvements might be needed. 

Where many people might stay away from buying a bank-owned or foreclosed property, there is a tool to ensure you can be more confident when making this type of purchase. For buyers who are unsure of the true condition of a home, there is a solution.

There's only one way to learn about a property's condition

That's where a home inspection comes in - this important step in the home-buying process shows you exactly what you are getting into. An inspection will give you all of the important details about what's likely one of the largest purchases of your life. A reputable home inspection company will assess nearly 300 different aspects of a home and give you a full and thorough report on the state of a property. And while more often than not, issues arise with a home that won't make or break a buying experience, sometimes an inspector will find an issue that may be troublesome enough to stall a purchase. Either way, knowing about these issues can serve as a means of preventing future troubles and can make you a better, more knowledgeable homeowner.

While it is rare, sometimes skipping out on a home inspection can be costly in more ways than one. Issues with the foundation, for example, are as troubling to a buyer as they are expensive to fix, even when minor. Another example is when there is an issue with the home's wiring. As this can't be seen at an open house or any other time while buying a home, there's really no way to tell, aside from having an inspection.

David Nelson, who works at Wainwright Real Estate in Virginia, told Zillow about one buyer who opted to forego an inspection.

"We could see that some tiles were messed up and the shower valves were gone, but he was confident he could fix that himself," Nelson said. "What he didn't realize was that someone had reached into the walls and pulled all the copper plumbing out of the house. It cost him $50,000 in repairs - all because he waived his right to an inspection."

A home inspection is meant to educate buyers. Learning as much as you can about a property before you buy is the most effective way to make the right decision. And when it comes to bank-owned or foreclosed properties, it's essential.