Professional home inspectors evaluate the condition of a home for a prospective buyer. The buyer typically pays for the inspection, and uses the findings to address any issues with the home before settlement.
Simply put, during a home inspection, the inspector examines your future house's condition—inside and out, from the basement plumbing to the roof. The inspection itself usually takes between one and three hours. The home inspector will explain the process to you, and invite you to come along during the inspection.
The inspection will cover all the major components of your future home (see our list below). The inspection company may also offer environmental testing services for water quality, radon, lead and asbestos—these services are not standard in all cases, but are worth considering if you're buying an older home.
At the end of the inspection, the inspector summarizes his or her findings, answers your questions, and then gives you (the buyer) a signed report of the findings. This report is the buyer’s property only—no other party is entitled to see it unless you allow them to.