If you are planning to rent a house any time soon, hire a home inspector. You may think this is only necessary if you are purchasing a house, but you would be wrong.
When we signed a lease a year ago, we were in a bit of a hurry, since we wanted to unload our old house and the rentals we were seeing were mostly hideous and overpriced. The home we ended up choosing is hideous and overpriced, but it's also huge and in a great location.
On our first walk-through after we got the keys, we noticed a little pile of what looked like wood shavings in the downstairs bedroom. Being California homeowners, we immediately identified them as termite droppings. Fab.
In January, shortly after moving in, the rains came. And so did The Drip. In the craft/guest room. Not far from my scrapbooks. Double fab. Our landlord had some guys come and clean off the flat roof and maybe do a bit of patch work, and the dripping stopped. When the rains started again this fall, the drips came right back, one in the same place and one in another. After several patch jobs (landlord has a number of lame excuses for not replacing the roof) it seems the roof is in sufficiently shored up. There have been no more drips.
The point is, all would have come to light with a reputable inspector and we would have continued our house hunt. Next time...