Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a home inspector responsible for?
  • What is typically included in a home inspection?
  • Who can be present during a home inspection?
  • Can you perform your own home inspection?
  • Do sellers have to fix everything on home inspections?
  • What are red flags in a home inspection?

The sole responsibility of the inspector is to provide the client with a complete and thorough inspection which translate into the inspection report. The report is not an appraisal of value but represents the condition of the property at the time of the inspection.

The standard home inspector’s report will cover the condition of the home’s heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing system; electrical system; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; and the foundation, basement, and structural components. ASHI publishes a Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics that outlines what to expect to be covered in the home inspection report.

It is important to note that there may be some exceptions. If certain areas are inaccessible (locked door, tenant’s belongings in the way) or unsafe conditions (severely steep roofs, poor structural integrity) the inspector will explain the situation and note that they were not able to assess that specific area or system.

The home inspector is the only person who has to be present — they are conducting the inspection, after all. In some cases, your real estate agent will hire the inspector and set up the appointment. However, it’s important to remember that you have a say in which home inspector you choose.

The best way to discover any problems is to hire an expert to conduct a home inspection before you sign any contracts, but some aspects of the inspection you may be able to do yourself. You may not know city building codes—for that, you’ll need a professional.

State laws, including seller disclosure laws, are the only instance where a seller is obligated to pay for repairs after a home inspection. For everything else, it’s up to the negotiations between the buyer and seller, and who pays for what depends on what is decided after the inspection report comes in.

Structural problems top the list of home inspection red flags. Structural problems, like a cracked foundation or damaged load-bearing walls, affect the integrity of the entire home and signs of these problems should be taken seriously.