What is a professional home inspection?

A professional home inspection is a primarily visual, non-technical evaluation, using normal user controls where applicable, of the visible, safely accessible, and readily accessible systems and components specified in an applicable standard practice for conditions specified in that standard which, in the knowledge, experience, and opinion of the inspector, are adversely affecting* the normally intended function or operation** of those specified systems and components at the time of the inspection. Such conditions are those which pertain to damage, deterioration, assembly, non-functionality, inoperability, installation, attachment, securing, support, clearances, dimensions, materials, missing parts, and missing components.

The findings developed in the course of a professional home inspection are documented in a written report which is provided to the home buyer and which will typically include the following:

  • Identification of the specified systems and components inspected including information which differentiates systems and components from other or similar systems and components by type, materials, energy source, etc.
  • A description of any specified conditions which are adversely affecting* the normally intended function or operation** of the specified systems and components
  • Recommendations for appropriate action (not specific repair or remediation techniques) to address the documented conditions, i.e., to correct, monitor, or to have the condition(s) evaluated by appropriate qualified individuals or companies
  • Identification of any systems and components which were present and not inspected, and the reason such systems and components were not or could not be inspected

* Adversely affecting: With regard to specified a system or component, producing a detrimental effect.
* Normally intended function or operation: The historically and conventionally accepted purpose or use of a system or component and/or the purpose or use for which a system or component is designed by the manufacturer.

The written report will also contain important maintenance and care information to help homeowners protect their investment. Professional home inspectors put the information developed in the course of the inspection into perspective by providing direction regarding the relative importance of the conditions noted in the written inspection report and recommendations regarding how quickly certain corrective measures should be implemented.

Professional inspectors are impartial third parties; they are not parties to any real estate transaction. Therefore, they do not determine or direct who is responsible for undertaking any corrective measures. To do so would violate their professional code of ethics. A professional inspector’s function is to investigate, report, direct action, and educate. It is not to negotiate or to advise customers regarding what or how to negotiate. In addition, inspectors are not appraisers and are not qualified to provide any opinions regarding the value of any property or the advisability or inadvisability of purchase.