Frequently Asked Home Inspection Questions

  |   What is a “Home Inspection”?

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. The standard home inspector’s report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home’s heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic, and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement, and visible structure. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical check-up.

  |   How much does it cost for a home inspection?

Standard home inspection costs vary from company to company, and there are usually additional costs for things like Radon testing. At a minimum, you should make sure the inspector is licensed and carries the proper Business and Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance. In Wisconsin home inspection is a regulated industry, and you should also verify that the inspector is aware of and complies with the appropriate state statutes and standards of practice. Please see Pricing And Services for an estimate of our standard inspection costs.

  |   What does a standard home inspection cover?

A standard home inspection covers the following structural components and electromechanical systems:

  • Structure including foundations, floors, walls, columns, ceilings, and roofs.
  • Exteriors including siding, doors, windows, driveways, walks, stoops, decks, overhangs, patios, and garage exteriors.
  • Roofs including roof coverings, drainage systems, flashings, roof penetrations, and signs of leakage or poor condition.
  • Plumbing including interior water supply, distribution piping, interior waste drainage, drainage pipes, and hot water systems.
  • Electrical including service equipment, type/rating, branch circuits, outlets, main panel, main disconnect, and fuses/breakers.
  • Heating including central heating system, type, normal operating controls, fuel type, fuel and heat distribution systems.
  • Cooling including central cooling system, type, normal operating controls, and cooling distribution systems.
  • Interiors including walls, ceilings, floors, steps/stairways, railings, counters, windows, and doors.

See also Residential Home Inspections for more details, or Contact Us.

  |   What is a home inspection in the State of Wisconsin?

In the State of Wisconsin a home inspection must be done by a licensed professional home inspector. It is a non-biased visual inspection of a homes structural components and electromechanical systems. A professional home inspector is typically hired by the home buyer, but is sometimes hired by the seller. The home inspector basically functions as an outside 3rd party with no stake in the outcome of the real estate transaction. He or she provides opinions about the condition of the property, and may make recommendations for further review(s) by qualified specialists to address specific issues or concerns.

  |   When should I call a home inspector?

Most offer to purchase contracts will contain a contingency for having the home professionally inspected prior to closing. If yours doesn’t, make sure it’s added before you sign it. The terms of the contract for all parties should be spelled out clearly, including how much time is given to complete the inspection process. At a minimum you should call a Wisconsin home inspector immediately after you sign the offer to purchase contract.

  |   Why can’t I just look at my Wisconsin home myself?

Most homeowners that are very knowledgeable about the homes they own. With that knowledge it might be tempting for them to try and inspect a home they’re looking to buy or sell, but unless they’re a trained professional home inspector, a comprehensive home inspection is impossible. A professional home inspection is done by a trained professional who looks at all the key components and systems of a home with unbiased objectivity. They also recognize proper construction and maintenance of the homes components and systems. Also, since they have no stake in the outcome of the real estate transaction there is no pressure for them to overlook any significant issues that might affect the outcome. They are free to provide opinions about the true condition of the home without fear. Even the most experienced home buyer or seller can’t do that.

  |   Why should I get a professional home inspection?

Anyone buying a home should have a professional home inspection. This is because for most people buying a home tends to be an emotional process, based mostly on the sales features of the home and not the true condition. A professional home inspector is not concerned with sales features; he or she is concerned with assessing the true condition of the home and all of its components and systems. For a seller the reason is usually to get an idea of the true condition of the home, and to create a list of items that need attention and possible repair or replacement. Again, the professional home inspector provides that service without emotion or bias.

  |   What if the house fails the inspection?

A professional home inspection is not pass or fail, so a house cannot “fail” an inspection. The inspection report is an overall description of the true condition of the homes components and systems that may contain recommendations for further review of specific items.

  |   Should I get out of the deal if significant issues are found?

Nothing is perfect and even brand new construction can have significant issues that need to be addressed. The inspector will identify those issues and record them in the inspection report. The report can then be used to negotiate between the buyer and seller on how those issues will be addressed. Often adjustments in purchase price or agreements to repair the issues by the seller, can resolve the significant issues discovered in the inspection process.

  |   Should I be present at the inspection?

Every home is different and unique in its own way. A good home inspector not only inspects the property, but also educates the client about the home and all of its components and systems. The home inspection is a wonderful educational opportunity that should be taken advantage of. It is highly recommended that you attend the home inspection so that you can see the entire process and ask questions in real time about what’s being observed.

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