When buying or selling a home, make sure a professional home inspector is part of the transaction. Nosy people can be really annoying if they are always sticking their nose in other people's business! But if you are buying a house, a home inspector is one super nosy person you definitely want to bring along, well before signing on the dotted line.
A home inspector provides unbiased third-party opinions about the structure, systems and any needed home repairs. For an inspector in your neighborhood, go to the American Society of Home Inspectors web site. ASHI inspectors are certified and follow a strict standard of practice  that determines what a good home inspector will examine, including the following inspection checklist:
The Structure: A home inspector will check the roof, siding, and porches for sagging or gaps as well as obvious signs of rot or insect damage. Most states also require a separate pest/termite inspection.
The Exterior: A home inspector will check decks, balconies, eaves, soffits and fascias. The inspection checklist will consist of grading the land around the house for obvious drainage problems, as well as walkway and driveway checks for apparent deterioration or safety concerns.
The Roof: A home inspector will get up on the roof, look down on lower parts from upper floor windows or visually inspect the roof from the ground with binoculars. Roof drainage systems, flashings, skylights and chimneys will also be checked by the home inspector.
Plumbing: Interior water supply and distribution system including water pressure and water heating equipment will be checked by a home inspector.
Electrical System: The inspector should inspect the current protections, grounding, and the presence of any aluminum wiring, which is a serious fire hazard and is now banned. The inspection should also consist of an examination of the switches and outlets in the house and note smoke detectors.
HVAC Systems: Even in warm weather, the furnace should be tested by turning up the thermostat and checking the response. However, air conditioning cannot be checked if the ambient outdoor temperature is below a certain point. In addition, most home inspectors will also have an inspection checklist for appliances, fireplaces, and the interior of the home such as counters, cabinets, windows, basement, floors and ceilings to verify they are undamaged, safe and/or working properly.