FAQ: Frequently asked Questions & Answers

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. The standard home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation and visible structure. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up. If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector will refer you to the appropriate specialist or tradesperson for further evaluation.

Why do I need a home inspection?

The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. You should learn as much as you can about the condition of the property and the need for any major repairs before you buy, so that you can minimize unpleasant surprises and difficulties afterwards. Of course, a home inspection will also point out the positive aspects of a home, as well as the maintenance that will be necessary to keep it in good shape. After the inspection, you will have a much clearer understanding of the property you are about to purchase, and will be able to make a confident buying decision.

Can a house fail inspection?

No. A professional home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, will not pass or fail a house, but rather describe its physical condition and indicate what may need repair or replacement.


The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is the oldest and leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors. Since its formation in 1976, ASHI's Standards of Practice have served as the home inspector's performance guideline, universally recognized and accepted by professional and government authorities alike. Copies of the Standards are available free from ASHI. ASHI's professional Code of Ethics prohibits Members from engaging in conflict of interest activities which might compromise their objectivity. This is the consumer's assurance that the inspector will not, for example, use the inspection to solicit or refer repair work. In order to assist home inspectors in furthering their education, ASHI sponsors a number of technical seminars and workshops throughout the year, often in cooperation with one of its nearly 50 Chapters. ASHI also serves as a public interest group by providing accurate and helpful consumer information to home buyers on home purchasing and home maintenance.

Do members of ASHI have a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice?

Yes, members adhere to the American Society of Home Inspectors Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

How long does a home inspection take?

Time is dependent on the house, the inspector and the client. The average home inspection takes two to three hours. The inspector you select can best estimate the time when you schedule the inspection.