What is a Home Inspection? And Why Do I Need One?
A home inspection is a professional, objective, visual examination of the condition of a home.
Home buyers view inspections as a way to gain valuable information about the biggest purchase of their
lifetime. It helps them to determine whether there are any major defects or system inadequacies at the
time of purchase. I am the only person looking out for your best interest in the whole transaction. All
other parties have money vested in the successful completion of the sale. I will be your objective and
impartial professional who looks for potential problems. Every other party to the transaction takes home
several thousand dollars but for only a few hundred dollars you get a comprehensive report telling you
what you need to know to decide if this is really the house for you. I take digital photographs and
document all findings in a report that states the type of materials and features in the home, and further
illustrates conditions that could require remedy before closing.
In most cases, home inspections are performed after a sales contract, conditional upon a satisfactory
home inspection, has been accepted by the seller. The inspection should be scheduled as soon as possible
to fulfill the time required for the contract, plus allow time to consider the findings in the report. I am
willing to schedule inspections to fit the clients schedule even on evenings and weekends. The home
buyer is encouraged to attend the inspection, so that he/she can see first hand the workings of the home.
The typical inspection takes Three hours. It also presents an excellent opportunity for the prospective
buyer to ask questions about the home or to discuss potential changes.
My service to my client is primarily one of education. My goal is to provide the client with a better
understanding of the physical condition of the home in order that they can make a well-informed
decision. It is also my role to keep my findings in perspective for the buyer. All homes have problems.
Some can cost more than others and some are acceptable as is.
What is inspected in a home? I inspect every house with the same thorough attention to detail regardless
of age, size, or price. What is inspected is too long to list. A home inspector must pass state exams to
become licensed in the state of Wisconsin. Most inspectors abide by ethics and standards and practices
required by the state. These Standards dictate what we are to inspect and how to inspect them. You can
read the text below. Or download the PDF version. I also abide by standards and practices with my
affiliations with NACHI and WAHI. All require a pledge to the ethics which can also be downloaded here.
No house is perfect, here is a list of common concerns.
Does Your House Have Any Of These?
You May Need An Inspection ! ! ! !
Problems with roofing material, due to aging, wear, or improper installation, are likely to be found in the majority of
homes. Some roofs require replacement, others could use some type of maintenance or repair. I regularly find improper
flashing details on new roof installations.
Ceiling stains, indicating past or current roof leaks: Unfortunately, you often can't tell if the roof still leaks unless you
inspect on a rainy day and when it is snow covered. Some stains are merely the residual effects of roof problems that
have been repaired, while others may be related to leaky plumbing.
Water intrusion into basements or crawl spaces due to ground water conditions:
Faulty drainage can be pervasive, difficult to resolve, and sometimes very damaging to buildings. Correction can be as
simple as re-grading the exterior grounds or adding roof gutters. Unfortunately, major drainage improvements are often
warranted, requiring costly ground water systems such as perimeter drain tile and sump pump.
Electrical safety hazards, especially (but not always) in older homes:
Examples are ungrounded outlets, extension cords, lack of ground fault current interrupters (shock protection devices),
faulty wiring conditions in electrical panels or elsewhere in a building, etc. Such problems may result from errors at the
time of construction but often are due to wiring that was added or altered by persons other than qualified electricians.
Electrical upgrades are often desirable and necessary.
Rotted wood at building exteriors and at various plumbing fixtures:
In areas where wood remains wet for long periods, e.g. Roof eaves, exterior trim, decks, around tubs and showers, or
below loose toilets, fungus infection is likely to attack, resulting in a condition commonly known as dry rot. If left
unchecked, damage can be quite extensive.
Building violations where additions and alterations were constructed without permits:
Homeowners will often tell a home inspector, "We added the garage without a permit, but it was all done to code." This
is a red flag to most inspectors, because no one could possibly know the entire building code, let alone the average
person without construction knowledge. Whenever an owner offers code assurance, problems are likely to be found.
Unsafe fireplace and chimney conditions:
Problems with wood burning fixtures can range from lack of maintenance to faulty installation. Most common are
missing spark arrestors and faulty placement of freestanding fireplaces.
Wood-burning stoves are typically installed by homeowners and handymen, persons without adequate knowledge of fire
materials within the building. Fire hazards of this kind are often concealed in attics, where they remain undiscovered
clearance between hot metal surfaces and combustible safety requirements. Common violations involve insufficient
hazards of this kind are often concealed in attics, where until a roof fire occurs.
Faulty installation of water heaters:
In most localities, less than 5% of all water heaters are installed in full compliance with plumbing code requirements.
Common violations include: improperly installed overflow piping, unsafe flue conditions, or faulty gas piping. What's
more, today's water heaters are designed to have shorter longevity. Leaks can develop in units that are only five years
old. Sometimes installation of a new water heater is necessary.
Hazardous conditions involving gas heaters:
Most gas-fueled heaters are in need of some maintenance, if only the changing of an air filter. In some cases, however,
gas heaters contain life-threatening defects that can remain undiscovered until too late. These can range from fire
safety violations, poor installations, improper fuel or electrical connections, or venting of carbon monoxide into the
Frequently improperly built as a weekend project by amateurs I inspect wood decks for the most common defects and
hazards. Inadequate railings and baluster spacing can lead to personal injury.
Firewall violations in attached garages:
Special fire-resistive construction is required for walls and doors that separate a garage from a dwelling. Violations are
common, due to faulty construction, damage or alterations to the garage interior, or changes in code requirements since
the home was built. In older homes, where firewalls' are not installed, sellers and agents will often suggest that the
building predates the code. However, the fire separation requirement for residential garages dates back to 1927. Garage
door openers have a separate set of concerns.
particular are evaluated meticulously, but I make sure to ascertain other areas that may be of some concern to you. I
work for you, not the seller or the Realtor. I help you assess the risk of home ownership and disclose the defects in the
home to you which will assist you in making an informed decision.
The process of inspecting a home is a crucial one. Many buyers purchase their home on impulse and find themselves
suffering from buyers remorse upon discovering serious flaws in the home itself. I provide my clients with the tools they
need to make an educated choice regarding the quality and condition of their potential new home. By hiring an
experienced home inspector who has your best interest solely in mind, my clients are better able to judge the strengths
and weaknesses of the home in which they are under contract to buy.
|Cell Phone (262)-370-9633
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