The Operating Systems, Lower Level, Interior and Exterior Inspection sections are EXTREMELY condensed versions of those found in our home inspection book: Home Inspection Business From A to Z
Real Estate Appraisers are not required to be home inspectors. However, I will include these sections anyway to give you some basic details about home inspections.
Check all fireplaces for any structural or back-smoking problems. Make sure the mortar joints are in satisfactory condition. Back-smoking is the result of downdrafts in the chimney flue that causes the smoke to come back into the house. Signs of back-smoking are black deposits, called creosote, on the front of the fireplace and mantel.
Sometimes the fireplace will have a metal firebox, a metal heat-a-lator, or a wood burning stove in it. You're limited in what you can evaluate with these because there's usually no access to view up the chimney flue.