Take a deck and staircase like the one pictured. If you saw an infant slip under that railing at that height what would happen? Yes - not good. And the person who built the deck likely did not have a clue about proper building code.
These are things that will be brought up at a home inspection, and not knowing this can hurt you if and when you want to sell your house.
This is why a pre-listing inspection is a very good idea.
The less the buyers' inspector finds, the better.
If you can have the inspection items either taken care of, or have quotes from licensed contractors for repairs available, the better off you will be.
These decks now must use 6 by 6 posts for second story applications, and proper railings are required - for god reason.
Ray Wilson is a Home Inspector, covering all of Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk), the 5 boroughs of NYC and now upstate NY. For any home inspection related questions he can be reached at Meticulous Home Inspection Corporation. He can be reached at 631-902-6761.