For instance, the purpose of a point of sale inspection (inspections done by the city so the homeowner can sell their home) is to maintain a minimum standard for the housing in a community. As a result, city inspectors have different "hot buttons" than an inspector with a different purpose. Common things called on a point of sale inspection include smoke detectors, missing hand rails, torn screens, broken windows, peeling or chipping paint, backflow preventers on threaded spigots, and GFCI outlets. If the roof is REALLY bad or the cement is terribly broken, or a fall hazard, those things may be called as well. Most often the point of sale inspection does not require an existing home to be brought up to today's code. Many times the point of sale inspection has a simple check list and doesn't delve beyond that.
The buyer's inspection is an entirely different kind of inspection. The buyer hires a private inspector for their inspection. The purpose of the buyer's inspection is to find every little picky thing that is wrong with the house so the buyer is aware of the flaws prior to continuing with the purchase. Because the city is looking for minimum standards and the buyer's inspector is looking for perfection, the two inspections will have some results that are very different and some that overlap.
Other inspectors who view the home have other purposes. The appraisor is looking for enough value to guarantee the loan. The plumbing inspector will be looking for plumbing issues. The home warranty inspector will only care about the appliances the warranty insures. An insurance inspector will look at mechanicals and safety issues to find the least amount of risk. The tax assessor . . . well, we all know the government wants to collect taxes!