WHY REALTORS LIKE HOME INSPECTORS
Realtors like home buyers to use a home inspector because it makes YOU, the home buyer, feel better about the process. Why do home buyers feel better about the home buying process after an inspection? Because 99.9% of all home buyers THINK that the home inspection will actually reveal problems and defects in the house, 99.9% of home buyers are satisfied that the extensive laundry list that the inspector uses is some how comprehensive and instructive. It might be. But it probably is NOT.
Some home inspectors will spend an hour or more in a house. (My own home inspector took an extended liberty in the restroom facilities that lasted roughly 20 minutes. ) But it isn't the amount of time that will reveal the home's defects to you and it isn't the number of items on a checklist that will save you from making an ill advised purchase. It won't be the "dog & pony" show of actively turning appliances on and off or running the plumbing that will prevent you from buying a house with tens of thousands of repair costs.
It will be the focus on the age and condition of the roof system best done by a roofer or roofing contractor; the age condition and capabilities of the HVAC system evaluated by a licensed HVAC repairman; and it will be the inspection of the foundation for signs of stress by a civil engineer who is trained in slab construction and failure. It will be your own education and study of this problem.
Can a home inspector do all of this? Yes, but 99.9% of them don't.