Prior to the inspection, let the seller know to have all utilities on, to clear access for the attic, crawl space, electrical panel, furnace, and water heater. Plan to be at the house during the inspection, which will take three to five hours.

Your home inspector will have a system in which they conduct their inspection so they don’t miss anything. Prior to the inspection they might ask about any known issues or concerns you might have. Don't be surprised if your home inspector doesn't talk much during the actual inspection because they're focusing on documenting everything they learn. When they finish, they will take the time to go through everything with you.

A detailed home inspection report is 20 to 50 pages with lots and lots of pictures, information, and details to help you identify features that are in good condition or not. A common word used by inspectors for features that are functioning is "serviceable". Most inspections will include a summary of deficiencies. You will typically receive the report right after the inspection or within 24 hours. When you get it, review each page and identify the items of greatest concern to you. You can also send your inspection to Majordomo to create a prioritized summary of the repairs and project estimates.

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