Home inspector is the name the real estate industry calls the professional responsible for the close and thorough examination of a property.
The home inspector usually is called upon action at the beginning of Closing to assess the current situation of the house being sold. He/She checks every single detail of the house and its structure. Roofing, plumbing, exteriors, structural elements, electrical, heating, air conditioning… and then makes a thorough home inspection report noting the problems the house might pose, with pictures
Typically, home inspectors start outside of the property, checking things around the exterior of the home, then move on to the roof, inspecting it for leaks, then the garage, and finally the house interior. If the house has two-stories, the inspector usually starts on the top floor and works his way down, because – especially in really old properties - the foundations might be affected from the inspection he/she did; so they save it for last, just to be sure that their assessment is the most correct possible.
While during closing its almost mandatory for the home inspector to be called – it’s in both the home buyer and the home seller’s interests to know the exact state of the house so one doesn’t try to push their problem to the other – they can be called at any given time. It is not uncommon for the home seller (because of a real estate agent’s recommendation) to hire a home inspector the moment he/she decides to put the house on the market, as a way to know if the home is in good standing or if it needs some structural reinforcement. This is done as a way to prepare the house for the market. If there’s a problem, it gets fixed, and the home value goes up.
Because building codes vary a lot from place to place – and, to tell you the truth, get changed from time to time - the home inspector is not responsible to know if the way it was built conforms to that region’s current way of building. He/she is only interested in the safety and functionality of the construction. However, if he/she does know of an error, he/she can tell the homeowner and write it in the inspection report – though, we believe, it will have no practical value; nothing but a heads-up.
And the home appraiser is responsible for calculating how much a property is worth by combining several aspects, including the safety of the construction, but does not have the aptitude to recommend changes and note dangers the homeowner should focus to bring the house’s health to safe conditions. In short: Appraisers focus on value, Home inspectors on safety.