The answer to this question is almost always YES. If you watch HGTV and Holmes on Homes, you will quickly find out what can happen when you do not get a home inspection.
A good home inspector will show you where the problems in the home are and where you will likely need to spend money in the future. Furthermore, a home inspector will be able to show you how to use the features in your home, such as a fire place or the mechanicals in your home. This is particularly important for first-time home buyers, who often do not have experience maintaining a home.
As a lawyer, I usually receive Agreements of Purchase and Sale after they have been signed. Most Agreements have an inspection clause in them, although some do not. The practice of perfection is to always have an inspection clause in your agreement so that you are aware of any potential problems in your home before you firm up your agreement. Practically speaking, some buyers decline to have an inspection clause when they are bidding on a home in order to make their offer more attractive to the seller. This means that the buyer is willing to assume the risk of having potential issues in their home.
One of the biggest mistakes made by buyers is their belief that they can rely on a seller’s home inspection report. If you read the seller’s home inspection report, you will find (in almost all cases) on the first page that you, as a buyer, are not authorized to use the report and can not rely on it. That means that you need your own home inspector if you want to rely on a home inspection report. From a practical perspective, however, it is still useful to see the seller’s home inspection report.
I will end by saying that for estate sales or “as is” real estate purchases, you are taking the house in the condition that it is in (and usually for a lower price). This means that there is no reason to put in an inspection clause in your offer to purchase and if you do, the clause will be crossed off anyways. In these situations, however, you will want to conduct a home inspection afterwards to find out more about the home you purchased.