Home Inspection FAQs

An important part of the homebuying process, the home inspection can be a buyer’s best friend.

Man talking with home inspector.

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. Having a home inspected is like giving it a physical checkup. If problems or symptoms are found, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.” (Quote from The American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI)

What makes a home inspector credible?
The State of Wisconsin requires that any home inspection performed for a fee must be performed in accordance with the Home Inspection Standard of Practice by the State of Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. The home inspector must be registered with the state.

How do I choose a home inspector?
The State of Wisconsin now requires home inspectors to be licensed to perform a residential home inspection. This is a logical first question but make sure to ask questions about experience, training methods, certifications, insurance, professional organizations and price—but don’t let the price be the deciding factor.

What does a home inspection include?
The standard home inspector’s report will observe and report on the condition(s) of the entire home, including the exterior siding, soffit, fascia, trim, gutters, electrical service, roof, chimney, skylights, windows and doors, flashing, caulking, garage and landscaping. This reflects anything that could impact the foundation and the conditions of the interior, walls, ceilings, floors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure, heating system, central air-conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical system, the attic and visible insulation.

When should I have a home inspection?
A home inspection is typically performed after an accepted offer to purchase has been signed. A specified time frame typically is written into the contract in order for you to completely remove the inspection contingency. However, before you sign, be sure there is an inspection clause in the sales contract, making your final purchase obligation contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. This clause should specify the terms to which both the buyer and seller are obligated.

What does a home inspection cost?
In general, fees range from $300-$400 for a single-family home inspection, depending on size, location and multiple units. This may be one of the wisest investments you can make when purchasing a home.

How long does a home inspection take?
Home inspections usually take about two to three hours depending on the size of the home. You should also plan on being present during the entire inspection if possible. The time spent with the inspector can help you to understand any possible concerns that should be brought to your attention. Check out our home inspection checklist for more information.

Is the home inspection a warranty?
No, this is not a warranty. The home inspection is based on an unbiased opinion of the conditions observed and written by a professional. This allows you to utilize your home inspector as an objective resource to determine the condition of the home you are buying.

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