A home may look perfect on the surface but conceal a lot of problems. A qualified home inspection can pinpoint problems and offer suggestions on how to deal with them spotting the most subtle signs and identify what’s behind a wall without having to open it up.

Here are the top 10 reasons to get a home inspection before you sign your name on the dotted line:

1. Your biggest investment. Americans aren’t big savers. Instead of piggy banks, Americans own homes. If you buy a lemon of a house, you may watch your biggest investment go belly up.

2. Radon: Radon is a gas that rises from the ground and sometimes seeps into houses, causing health problems. Home inspectors perform advanced radon testing.

3. Mold: Is there a water leak in the basement, bathroom or kitchen? The right combination of moisture, warmth and wood can produce mold in as little as 48 hours. Allergies and respiratory issues may follow.

4. Termites: Need we say more?

5. Septic System: If you buy a house with a faulty septic system, it can cost upwards of $20,000 to replace. A certified home inspector can identify the tell-tale signs of poor performance.

6. Lead paint: Lead paint is found in some homes built before 1978. If the paint job is in good shape—no flaking or peeling—you’re generally in good shape. But if children nibble the paint job or eat paint chips, the health cost could be high. Find out what you’re dealing with.

7. Fireplaces: A black film called creosote often builds up inside the fireplace after many years. If it’s too thick, then you’ve got a potential fire hazard on your hands.

8. Roof: Nobody thinks about the roof until it fails. Don’t spend a fortune on a house and then fork over thousands more when you discover the roof is no good.

9. The objectivity factor: Many home buyers get emotional when looking at a house. Home inspectors, fortunately, aren’t distracted by pretty drapes—they’re looking for problems. Can you do that?

10. The professional factor: If you’re a legal secretary, for example, you know a home inspector can’t sit down and do your job. It’s the same with certified home inspectors; they receive top notch home inspection training, which makes them pros in their field.

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