Home Inspection FAQ

Most home buyers in our area include a home inspection contingency in their offer to purchase. That means that the purchase of the home may be contingent on how the condition of the home checks out and whether or not the home owner and the prospective home buyer are able to come to terms when negotiating the home inspection contingency. But first things first. Read the following Frequently Asked Questions about what's involved in a typical home inspection.

Should I Get a Home Inspection?

Even when home sellers are completely truthful they may not know everything about the condition of their property. Whether minor or otherwise, professional home inspectors almost always discover defects that were not disclosed on property condition reports. Usually these items are not known to the sellers. Occasionally sellers have been known to deliberately conceal known defects. The property condition reports supplied by sellers contain information to the best of the seller's value and therefore may not be completely reliable. For the protection of your investment and for your own education regarding what may be one of the biggest investments you'll ever make, you should hire a Wisconsin registered home inspector.

Does a New Construction Home Need Inspecting?

It is as important to have newly constructed or recently constructed homes inspected as it is important to inspect older homes.  Builders are subject to the workmanship of subcontractors whose quality of work can vary dramatically. Depending on the type of work involved, the average homeowner may not recognize where corners might have been cut.

Who Will Do My Home Inspection?

In Wisconsin, all home inspectors are required to be registered with the State of Wisconsin. Lake & City Homes will provide you with the names of Wisconsin registered home inspectors with whom we have previously conducted business and can vouch for their professional competence. Occasionally items will be discovered by your home inspector that will reveal the need for further evaluation by a licensed contractor or environmental inspector. With the exception of  radon testing, which is done by many Wisconsin registered home inspectors, additional testing is usually performed under separate contract following the general home inspection. Lake & City Homes will structure your offer to purchase to allow for the additional time required for further testing, if desired, following a home inspection.

What's Included In a Home Inspection?

Wisconsin State law was written to ensure that all the major structural, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical operating systems observed during your inspection are evaluated and reported so as to reduce or eliminate your risk of unwittingly purchasing a property with major problems. Other hazards, if known or observed by the inspector, will also be reported. There are limitations, however. For example, a home inspector is not allowed to cut holes in walls, remove flooring, remove blocked accesses, or enter unsafe areas during an inspection. In addition, laboratory tests for hazardous substances are not automatically included. While inspectors are obligated by state law to stand behind their written opinions, they cannot predict the future performance of any particular home component. Therefore, guarantees or warranties are not included with inspections. Lake & City Homes recommends the purchase of a home warranty (if one is not already included in the sale of a property) and can arrange this on your behalf. Not only can it save you big money if a major component or mechanical system should malfunction, but it will give you peace of mind.

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

On average, a thorough home inspection should take between three and four hours. It depends on the size and condition of the property being inspected. You should without question attend your inspection. A home inspection is the perfect opportunity to learn everything there is to know about the home you are purchasing. A good home inspector will impart valuable information about the home being inspected that will help you understand how to take care of the house that you'll likely be living in. Knowing how to take care of your home or what kinds of things to be on the lookout for during certain times of the year, for example, can save you both time and money later on. If possible you should plan on attending the entire inspection and taking your own notes. If you can't attend your inspection try to attend the last half hour or so when the inspector will go over any and all significant items that he or she may have identified. 

Will I Know if Something is a Defect?

Defects are almost always discovered during inspections, even on brand new homes.  Lake & City Homes will help you understand what the legal definition of a defect is, which item or items meet the criteria to qualify as defects, and how you wish to handle certain defects. Most defects are negotiated with the selling party since sellers are legally required to disclose to all prospective future buyers any defects discovered during an inspection and subsequently revealed to the seller. Although it is usually in the seller's best interest to work something out, it is ultimately up to the buyer to decide what adverse conditions they will or will not agree to accept. 

What's Included in the Home Inspection Report?

A home inspection report documents the current conditions of the property in writing. Home inspection reports must contain all of the information required by Wisconsin inspection statutes. Inspection reports are not required to state the costs or methods of repairs. To obtain estimates for costs and/or to have a specific component further evaluated, it is necessary to contact professional service companies or contractors. Lake & City Homes will be happy to refer you to qualified contractors or other specialists who can provide cost estimates for specific types of repairs.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

On average, home inspections cost between $300-$500 and typically yield a great deal of information for the money.  Some inspectors will also offer ancillary inspection services for mold contamination, lead paint, asbestos, radon gas, water contaminants, etc which can be performed for additional fees during or after the home inspection. If you use a structural engineer to carry out your home inspection, you can expect to pay 30-50% more.

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