When you’re buying your first home, the experience can be overwhelming. You’ve negotiated with the seller, you’ve gone through the mortgage application process and now you’re waiting for your home inspection to be complete. It’s a time filled with emotions — excitement, anxiety and fear of the unknown.

The home inspection process is designed to protect you and your future investment by identifying defects and other issues with the property that you’re considering buying. It is a common contingency in a real estate transaction, and the results of it can affect whether you’re willing to move forward with the purchase. A good inspector will provide a detailed report with photos that will let you know the condition of the property. This will include information about the roof, attic and gutters as well as the structural integrity of the house.

Home inspectors are trained to note all the flaws in a home, no matter how minor. This is why it’s important to prepare for your home inspection by clearing out spaces like basements, attics and crawl spaces so the inspector can get in to examine them. It also helps to remove items from around the outside of the house that could interfere with an evaluation. For example, plant growth, trash cans and storage can be a hindrance for the inspector, so you’ll want to clear those out as well.

During the home inspection process, the inspector will likely be looking for signs of water damage, including mold and wood rot. The inspector will check the faucets and showerheads to see if there are any visible leaks as well as test the water pressure. They will also look for the location of the main water shut-off valve. The inspector will also be looking at the roof and attic to check for signs of moisture, sagging or damage to the structure.

It’s a good idea to be present for the home inspection so that you can ask questions and see the problems for yourself. However, if you’re unable to attend the inspection, you should be sure to communicate with your inspector ahead of time so they can provide you with a summary of the findings.

It’s also a good idea to review the inspection report carefully once it’s been delivered. While it’s not a pass/fail assessment, the report will note any major issues that were discovered and can help you decide how to proceed. If you have any questions about the report, be sure to consult your real estate agent for advice.