Home inspector holding a clipboard and standing in front of a window.

What Does A Home Inspector Do?

April 25, 2024 5-minute read

Author: Carla Ayers


A home inspector is a valuable asset in the home buying process. Their job is to survey the property and make you aware of any defects in a home before you decide to purchase it. Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it can also prevent costly repairs down the road.

Let’s dive in to get an understanding of what a home inspector does, what details they look at and the ones they don’t.

What Is A Home Inspector?

A home inspector is a licensed and trained professional hired to inspect a home and surrounding property. They look at a variety of home features inside and out and compile a home inspection report given to you at the end. This report will show and explain any issues the inspector found on the property – big or small. A qualified and experienced inspector should show you the issues they found and explain how they can be fixed.

You, the home buyer, will most likely be responsible for professional home inspection costs. So it’s important to find the right home inspector. Consult with your real estate agent to see if they have any inspectors they recommend. You can also ask family and friends or do research on your own to find someone to perform a thorough inspection.

See What You Qualify For


Type of Loan

Home Description

Property Use

Your Credit Profile

When do you plan to purchase your home?

Do you have a second mortgage?

Are you a first time homebuyer?

Your email address () will be your Username.
Contains 1 Uppercase Letter
Contains 1 Lowercase Letter
Contains 1 Number
At Least 8 Characters Long
Go Back


By submitting your contact information you agree to our Terms of Use and our Privacy Policy, which includes using arbitration to resolve claims related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.!

NMLS #3030
Rocket Mortgage Logo

Congratulations! Based on the information you have provided, you are eligible to continue your home loan process online with Rocket Mortgage.

If a sign-in page does not automatically pop up in a new tab, click here

Rocket Mortgage Logo

What Does A Home Inspector Do?

Home inspectors walk around your home and carefully assess it for issues they find concerning. But what areas do home inspectors check? Here are some of those specific areas and what exactly a home inspector will look for.

Inspect The Basement And Attic

Since basements and attics aren’t always frequently used, they could harbor some major issues. Basements should always be checked for moisture, cracks, leaks or other warning signs of foundation issues. Attics should be inspected to ensure all vents and structural items look good and work properly.

Inspect The Electrical System

As with any electrical system, there are many wires and cables to inspect. Your inspector should double check that all wiring looks safe and was installed correctly. They should also be on the lookout for any electrical wiring that looks problematic and could cause disruption down the road.

Inspect The Plumbing

Home inspectors should also carefully examine the home’s plumbing. They should notice if there are any cracks, leaks or other problems with the water heater or plumbing system. Since water consistently runs through the house to the kitchen and bathrooms, the plumbing must work properly.

Inspect The Bedrooms

While bedrooms tend to have less to inspect than other rooms, they still should be inspected thoroughly. Inspectors should make sure all windows and doors are working how they should be. They’ll also look out for any uneven floors or ceilings with any exposed cracks or stains that could signal a bigger issue.

Inspect The Bathrooms

Since bathrooms harbor some of the major plumbing in the home, it’s important for the inspector to take their time inspecting each bathroom. They should check to make sure sinks, toilets and showers are all working and draining properly. Inspectors will also be on high alert for signs of water damage or any visible water leaks.

Inspect The Kitchen

When inspecting the kitchen, the home inspector will check that all appliances are working as intended. This includes testing ovens, sinks and garbage disposals. They’ll also look for proper ventilation and any signs of damage. Signs might include water drippings, suspicious cracks or stains.

Inspect The HVAC System

Having a functioning HVAC system is important no matter the season. You’ll need either heat or air conditioning on any given day. Inspectors should make sure the HVAC installment was done correctly and ensures there aren’t any suspicious smells or cracks.

Inspect The Home’s Exterior

While the home inspector spends a lot of time inside the home, they’ll inspect the exterior as well. This includes checking for anything that looks suspicious or concerning around the ground level of the home. Inspectors will also assess any and all cracks, damage and rotting wood.

Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

What Don’t Home Inspectors Look For?

The above list may look like a home inspector checks every part of the home. But there are some things they don’t take too much time to inspect. The following items below are not usually thoroughly inspected by home inspectors:

  • Pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Solar panels
  • Fireplaces (Inspectors will briefly look at fireplaces but might not perform an in-depth inspection.)
  • Ground under the home (Inspectors will briefly look at the foundation but might not perform an in-depth foundation inspection.)

The list above doesn’t mean your home inspector won’t look at any of these things. But they might not be knowledgeable enough to deem them safe in a home inspection. A more custom inspection should be performed by a professional who is well-versed in each specific area.

Home inspectors might not be able to immediately detect if toxic materials like asbestos are present in the home. They may be able to tell you if there's a risk. However, more testing would be necessary to determine if harmful materials are actually present.

What Do Special Home Inspectors Look At?

You should also be aware of special home inspections. In a special inspection, qualified professionals will look thoroughly for flaws not included in a basic home inspection checklist. These special inspections could find issues early on and save you a lot of money in the long run.

Special home inspections might include:

  • Chimney
  • Septic system
  • Sewer
  • Soil
  • Lead-based paint
  • Radon
  • Mold
  • Termites

What Are Home Inspectors Not Allowed To Do?

There are things an inspector isn’t required to do, and then there are things they aren’t allowed to do for legal and ethical reasons. Buyers should know the limitations to ensure they’re working with an inspector with good skills and intentions.

While laws vary by state, here are some common acts inspectors aren’t allowed to carry out:

  • Home inspectors aren’t allowed to diagnose the cause of any issues revealed during the inspection.
  • An inspector can’t offer their construction or contractor services to repair any issues revealed during the inspection, or recommend another company.
  • Certified home inspectors can’t put their safety at risk to inspect a property.
  • Certified inspectors can’t withhold information about hazardous conditions, or continue an inspection in hazardous conditions.
  • Inspectors aren’t allowed to perform construction on the home to search for potential problems.

Get approved to see what you can afford.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you do it all online.

How To Prepare For Home Inspectors

Since home inspectors check many systems and features, it’s essential to prepare your home for an inspection. There are different ways to get ready for inspection day depending on whether you’re buying a home or selling one.

As A Home Buyer

If you’re on the fence about buying a certain home, or your offer includes a home inspection contingency, prepare by doing the following:

  • Compile any questions regarding anything you’ve seen in the house that’s a concern.
  • Be present for the inspection if you’re interested in hearing what the inspector has to say.

As A Home Seller

The seller can physically and mentally prepare for a home inspection as well. Here’s how:

  • Provide the inspector with any other important information about the home (past issues, age/condition of the home, etc.)
  • Move clutter or furniture out of the way so the inspector has a clear path to everything in the home.
  • Clean the home so the inspector can examine everything they need to.
  • Provide any keys or codes the inspector will need inside and outside the

The Bottom Line

Before committing to purchasing a home, it’s wise to get a professional home inspector to check it out. An inspection report can give you a better idea of its condition. Inspectors don’t cover everything, but they can provide you with peace of mind as you move into homeownership. Work with your real estate agent to ensure you hire a home inspector who’s certified and experienced in the necessary areas.

Ready to finance your dream home after a stellar inspection report? Start the mortgage process today.

Carla Ayers Headshot

Carla Ayers

Carla is Section Editor for Rocket Homes and is a Realtor® with a background in commercial and residential property management, leasing and arts management. She has a Bachelors in Arts Marketing and Masters in Integrated Marketing & Communications from Eastern Michigan University.