What Does a Home Inspector Do?

Laura Hennigan
Written by Laura Hennigan
Updated February 16, 2022
A classic american house exterior
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock


  • A home inspection involves a thorough visual examination of a home.

  • Buyers should attend the home inspection and ask questions afterward.

  • A home inspection typically costs between $200 and $500.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

The process of buying a new home is often equal parts exciting and terrifying. One of the most stressful steps is having a home inspection completed. Not knowing what may be found can feel unnerving, so hiring an experienced, reputable home inspector is always a good idea.

A knowledgeable home inspector will take their time examining the house, both inside and out. Getting a home inspection completed will help give you peace of mind that the house is in working condition before you finalize the home sale. Read on to find out what a home inspector does and why their job is important. 

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough visual examination of a home and all its parts, which is completed by, you guessed it, a home inspector. This type of professional has extensive experience and knowledge of what to look for when examining a property. 

The home inspector’s findings are relayed to the home’s seller and potential buyer through the home inspection report. Potential buyers should schedule a home inspection as soon as possible, since any issues found can be used to negotiate repairs, replacements, or even a new price. Depending on the report’s findings, the buyer may request changes to the asking price or the contract if the home inspector found significant damage. 

Do I Really Need a Home Inspection?

In short, yes. There are very few circumstances where you should agree to waive a home inspection before closing on a property. A home inspection will give you insight into the house, and it’s highly recommended that buyers walk through the inspection with the pro. Plus, the home inspection contingency allows buyers to walk away from the potential sale if the home inspector finds too much damage for them to handle. 

How to Find a Home Inspector

While your real estate agent will likely provide a few home inspector recommendations, take some time to do your homework before choosing one. Keep in mind that home inspectors have to provide unbiased opinions, so double check that there aren’t any conflicts of interest with the buyer, seller, or real estate agent. 

Start by using the Angi pro search to find top-rated inspectors in your area. You can also check with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors to find local certified home inspectors.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

A home inspector points to something outside while talking with homeowner
Photo: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

Home inspectors will arrive at your potential home with a checklist of areas of the home to examine. Most inspection checklists includes the 12 major components of the house:

  • Heating system

  • Central air system

  • Interior plumbing

  • Electrical systems

  • Roof

  • Attic and insulation

  • Walls, floors, and ceilings

  • Windows 

  • Doors

  • Foundation 

  • Basement

  • Structural components

What Should You Ask During a Home Inspection?

During the home inspection, the inspector will share what they see and any observations that may need more attention. To prepare for the home inspection, consider asking the professional the following questions:

  • What will you check today?

  • What areas will you not inspect?

  • How much insulation is in the attic?

  • Where is the main water shutoff?

  • Where is the main electrical panel?

  • What condition is the roof in?

  • How are the windows?

  • Has the HVAC system been properly maintained?

  • Do you notice any structural issues?

  • What should be repaired or replaced first?

  • What problems could arise down the road?

  • Are there any safety concerns or hazards?

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

Most home inspections cost between $200 and $500, and they take several hours to complete. The home inspection fee is due to the inspector at the time, and it’s not rolled into closing costs. Your home inspection cost will depend on the age and size of the home, along with the condition of the property.  

After Your Home Inspection is Complete 

Once the inspection is complete, you’ll receive a report to review with your real estate agent. That’s when the potential buyer should decide if you want to ask for any repairs, replacements, price adjustments, or, in some cases, to walk away from the sale. No matter the outcome, if you were pleased with the home inspector and their assessment, take the time to leave them a positive online review or offer to be a customer reference in the future.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.