When buying a home, it is almost always wise to get a professional home inspection. You should get an experienced inspector who has done at least 1000 inspections. In Virginia, there is no licensing requirement so anyone can call himself a home inspector. Most inspectors are trained and certified under the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or National Association of Home Inspectors (NAHI). Virginia also has a voluntary Home Inspector Certification that some home inspectors have obtained.
Most, but not all, home inspectors have a background in the home construction business. Thus if you have any particular areas of concern, such as plumbing, carpentry, or electrical, you can seek out an inspector with extensive experience in that area. Most inspectors have the experience and training to cover all areas of home construction. If problems are found you can always request a more detailed inspection from an expert such as a roofer or mold specialist who is currently working in that area of home construction. The home inspector will only check out things that he can readily see. The inspector will not move furniture or carpets, or cut holes in the wall unless you have permission and are paying for a special inspection for something like mold. The inspector will also likely require that you sign a document limiting his liability to the cost of the inspection. This is why you want to get a good experienced inspector, as you will likely have little recourse against the inspector or home owner for any missed problems. Your Realtor should be able to recommend a good home inspector to you.
You also want to be sure that your inspector carries insurance, as that is a generally a contract requirement in both New Home and resale home contracts. You will be expected to pay for the inspection at the time it is done. The cost can run between $350 and $700 depending on the size and price of the house. Most inspections run $400 to $450. There can be some variation as to what the inspectors charge for the same house with the more experienced inspectors generally charging a little more.
Once you have your report, you can use it to request additional repairs from the owner or builder, unless your contract states that you are buying the house AS Is and the inspection is for information only to let you decide if you want to proceed with the purchase. Builder contracts will state that the builder does not have to take care of any problems found by the inspector, but builders want to build a good product and will in fact address most of the items on the inspection list. Your inspection on a New Home should be just before the drywall is installed so that your inspector can see the plumbing and wiring in the walls.