As a buyer, the home inspection process remains one of the most important deciding factors when buying a home. Just as sellers play a vital role in preparing their home for an inspection, a buyer has an integral role to play as well. Here is the home inspection checklist you need to prepare for, and get the most out of, your buyer's home inspection.

1. Find Your Inspector

A successful home inspection involves working with a qualified inspector to assess and document the condition of a home through visual inspection. All HouseMaster home inspectors are trained at the National Institute of Building Inspectors so you can rest assured that you will receive a quality inspection.

2. Read the Fine Print

Be sure to read the complete inspection contract. As the client, your HouseMaster inspector is working for your interests before that of any other party.

3. Set the Stage

When attending your inspection, it is important to note that the inspector can only inspect elements of the home that are accessible. After making your choice and booking the inspection, be sure to request that the seller unlock any inaccessible areas, and make sure that the components of the home, such as heat, electricity and water, are turned on so that the house can receive a full inspection.

While this may not guarantee accessibility, it will greatly increase your chances of a full inspection, and make the process smoother for yourself and the inspector.

4. Take the Time

Be sure to allow enough time in your schedule for a thorough inspection. Depending on the size of the home this could be several hours, so arranging for someone to watch your children or pets is a good idea. If you must bring your children with you, try to bring along another adult to help you focus on the inspection.

5. Come Prepared

Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Your inspector will likely be inspecting some small, dark or dirty spaces, so ensuring that you're dressed appropriately will allow you to follow along and obtain some helpful information or explanations along the way.

Plan for inclement weather as well, and be sure to have weather appropriate attire to accompany the inspector around the exterior of the home.

Consider bringing a flashlight of your own to help illuminate dark corners.

6. Be Considerate

If by chance, the owner of the home is on site during the inspection, avoid making negative remarks about the home, its decor or furnishings. Avoid moving or shifting items in the home that could break or damage the owner's possessions. Be courteous and respectful of the homeowners and their property.

7. Be Realistic

Remember that no home is perfect, and that a home inspection will always find defects throughout the home. A home inspection aims to help you understand the current condition of the home and how to care for the property going forward. There is no pass or fail.

8. Take Notes

If there are items which concern you during the inspection, consider jotting down a few quick notes, so that you can formulate any follow-up questions for the inspector. Asking questions will help you understand the context around any defects which are noted in the report.

9. Review the Report

Take ample time to review the report prior to initiating the next steps in the purchase process. Ensure you understand any dates or estimated repair schedules and familiarize yourself with any technical terms located within the report.

10. Prioritize the Findings

Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed by the results. Try prioritizing any issues as noted by the inspector into a separate list of immediate concerns or safety issues, items that can be deferred to a later date and items that are minor in nature. Further breakdown each category by estimated cost to determine if there are any significant defects that could impact your negotiations.

A home inspection is one of the most useful tools in a buyer's toolkit when purchasing a home. Ensuring that you're prepared for this important step will help you understand your new home and prepare for its continued maintenance. Be sure to ask your HouseMaster inspector if they have any specific recommendations or requests so you can be prepared.