This is a really good and important question. Many home buyers (and even agents) do not know what a home inspector does. So let me clear the smoke now.
There are 3 aspects to every professional home inspection:
First – a home inspection is a visual, non-intrusive, and impartial attempt to ascertain the true physical condition of the home at the time of the inspection and during the day.
Second – a home inspection isn't really about the home inspector telling you what's wrong with the home, it's an exploration session for you to make sure you understand what you're looking for. Buying so that you can decide whether it falls within your expectations and is a good fit for your situation.
Third – Home inspection report. Reports are designed to summarize and express findings in a way that is clear, simple, complete, and easy to understand. If a home inspection is a snapshot in time of the condition of the home, the report itself is the photo, (and a good report will have lots of photos).
There is no actual home inspection without the report. This allows you to go back through the inspection as many times as you want to determine whether the home is a good fit for you and your circumstances.
If your schedule allows, you should also be encouraged to take advantage of the rare opportunity to follow a professional home inspector around your home who will invite your questions, concerns, and provide important information and advice that will help you during your stay and maintain your home for years to come.
Some key points to remember about home inspections:
1. No home is perfect. Not even a new house. There will always be something worth noting in the report.
2. A home inspection is an investment in the quality of your new home. Look at it as one. I have always had a goal that the items I find in the house at least cover the cost of the inspection when they are negotiated for repair. Of course, that doesn't always happen. Again, sometimes my fees are much lower than what I get.