A young family touring a vacant home with a home inspector to guide them

The Role of Home Inspectors in Real Estate Transactions

By Published On: September 11th, 2023Categories: Home Inspection Career Guide0 Comments

What is a Home Inspector’s Job Description?

Home inspectors are experts on the inner workings of a home. If you’ve ever had to hire a home inspector, you know they’re hired to inspect houses from top to bottom, identifying defects that could turn into financial burdens or safety risks. After completing an inspection, a home inspector produces a detailed home inspection report that a buyer or seller uses to make a better real estate decision.

Just as a real estate agent guides clients through the process of buying and selling a home, a home inspector guides clients through understanding the condition of the home. It’s important work during the course of a real estate transaction.

Home Inspector Job Duties & Responsibilities

During a home inspection, you might find a home inspector:

  • Looking for costly foundational defects in an otherwise soundly built home
  • Uncovering problems with an electrical system that could one day start a fire
  • Determining that an HVAC system isn’t cooling or heating efficiently enough and recommending maintenance or replacement
  • Identifying something simple (but annoying) like a wall switch paired with the wrong light
  • Offering homebuyers and homeowners maintenance tips and trade knowledge on the major systems in their homes

These are just a few of the things home inspectors do when inspecting a home and preparing an inspection report for a client.

Typical Home Inspector Job Description

Home inspectors are primarily responsible for inspecting the structural components and major systems of a home. Typical home inspector duties include inspecting:

  • Structural components such as a home’s foundation, floors, walls, and ceilings
  • Exterior features including doors, windows, siding, porches, stoops, stairs, railings, walkways, driveways, chimneys, and gutters
  • Roofing including roofing materials, drainage systems, shingles, flashing, eaves, soffits, and other components
  • Plumbing including pipes and connectors, interior water supply distribution, drainage systems, fixtures, water heaters, sewage and waste management systems, and other elements
  • Electrical systems including electrical panels, cables, light fixtures, switches, circuits, and disconnects
  • HVAC systems including heating and cooling systems, venting configurations, exhaust systems, heating and cooling efficiency, and thermostats
  • Interior features such as walls, floors, ceilings, steps, windows, major appliances, cabinets, and countertops
  • Fireplaces and fuel-burning appliances as well as fuel-burning accessories installed in fireplaces
  • Attics and crawl spaces including ventilation and exterior exhaust systems

Learn about a home inspector’s duties in more detail in this blog.

Home Inspector Qualifications

Home inspectors come from all walks of life, and there are no prerequisites to start training. That’s why it’s important to do your research and find one with the right qualifications.

In some states, home inspectors are required to be licensed before performing any home inspection work. In other states, there aren’t any licensing requirements. However, whether a license is required or not, it’s important for a home inspector to follow the best practices of a solid home inspection.

Completing a home inspector training program to learn how to perform a professional home inspection is key.

Generally, home inspector training programs take a few weeks to a few months to complete. Some can be completed 100% online, others in person in a classroom setting, and others in a hybrid approach using a mix of online, classroom, and field training. The best programs are those that are hands-on and that give students the opportunity to practice home inspection routines at real homes.

Find out more about AHIT’s home inspection training here.

What Jobs Do Home Inspectors Get Hired For?

Home inspectors are most often hired by homebuyers during the homebuying process.

Usually, the home inspector is hired to inspect a home during the buyer’s due diligence period – after they’ve agreed to purchase the home. As part of the buyer’s home inspection contingency, the home inspector inspects the home and reports any major defects in the home inspection report. The buyer then uses the findings to determine how they will continue with their purchase.

For instance, the buyer could ask for necessary repairs to be made by the seller, try to negotiate a new sales price in lieu of repairs needed, move forward with the sale as-is, or walk away. The inspector’s report gives them the intelligence they need to make a sound choice.

Home inspectors might also be hired by sellers to conduct pre-inspections before listing a home for sale. This helps inform the seller of any necessary repairs needed that could derail a future deal. Home inspectors might also be hired throughout the year to perform maintenance inspections for homeowners to help ensure the safety of their homes.

Why Home Inspectors Are Real Estate Allies

Home inspectors are important players in the real estate transaction process and beyond. Their work guides the decisions of nervous homebuyers and sellers, ensures the soundness of real estate investments, and essentially, keeps people safe. They’re also objective and grounding resources that are invaluable to clients (and their real estate agents) in what may be stressful deals.

A great home inspector is an ally you want by your side in any real estate transaction.

Learn the Fundamentals of Home Inspection with AHIT

If you’re looking for a quality home inspector, you can’t go wrong with an AHIT-trained inspector. And if you’re looking to become a home inspector yourself, AHIT home inspector training teaches you the fundamentals. Learn how to inspect homes, work with clients, and run a successful home inspection businesses. AHIT helps inspectors develop skills, get licensed, and build successful careers. Learn how to become a home inspector today.

About the Author: Ashley Roe

Ashley Roe is a Content Specialist with AHIT and The CE Shop. She writes regularly about home inspection and appraisal. With a reporter's eye and a passion for learning, Ashley stays current on what's happening within each industry. Her goal is to create engaging, relevant, and useful content that both informs and inspires readers.

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