COVID-19 Home Inspection Safety
In times like this, it is important that we all do our part to keep each other safe. As your home inspectors, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety of all parties involved in the real estate transaction. We strive to follow the latest recommendations from our health officials.
ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE REPORT!
We provide a comprehensive home inspection report that contains a summary of items of concern, some that need immediate attention and others that may be addressed at some time in the future, near or far. The summary will not include every item of concern. It is important for you to read the entire report to gain a thorough understanding of defects and/or other items found needing improvement by repair or replacement. Read the entire report as soon as possible before expiration of the inspection contingency and before the close of escrow.
Requirements for Wisconsin Home Inspectors
The State of Wisconsin requires Home Inspectors to be licensed by the office of Safety and Professional Services. To qualify for a Home Inspector License, the inspector must pass The National Home Inspector Exam as well as the Wisconsin Home Inspector Exam. Once the license has been earned, continuing education is required to keep it.
The National Exam is a comprehensive test of every type of home construction including foundation, structural systems, interior and exterior finish materials, insulation & ventilation, heating and cooling system, roof systems and electrical & plumbing systems, that can be found anywhere across the country. Different areas of the country use different types of construction and different systems and materials. By preparing for this exam, the licensed inspector has become well versed in these differences and is well prepared for whatever type of home construction and systems they are presented with.
The State of Wisconsin Exam also has a technical component as found in the National Exam but in addition, instructs on the ethical duties of the inspector, pursuant to State legislation. The State of Wisconsin requires inspectors to follow the Wisconsin Standards of Practice for Home Inspection, as a minimum. Inspectors may follow a Standard of Practice published by a Home Inspector Association, as long as it meets or exceeds the Wisconsin Standard of Practice requirements.
Home Inspection – Definition and General Requirements
Every aspect of a home inspection and the requirements for home inspectors to practice in Wisconsin is governed by WI statute SPS 131. Here are a couple of key points:
Home Inspection means the process by which a home inspector examines the observable systems and components of improvements to real property that are readily accessible.
General requirements per Wisconsin SPS 131 – “A home inspector shall perform a reasonably competent and diligent home inspection of the readily accessible installed systems and components required to be inspected under SPS 131.32 to detect observable conditions of an improvement to residential real property. A reasonably competent and diligent home inspection is not required to be technically exhaustive.”
What to expect during your Home Inspection
An inspection of a typical home usually starts outside with an examination of the grounds around the home, adequate drainage grade, walkways & driveway, utility service entrance, venting and the exterior features of the home that are visible and accessible. Next we’ll check out the roof along with any penetrations like a chimney, vents & skylights and gutters & downspouts. The garage will get a good look including testing for GFCI receptacles and overhead door operator safety controls. Moving inside, we will start a cycle on the dishwasher and washing machines, if applicable, then head into the attic to check out the roof structure and the insulation & ventilation. After closing the attic access, we will go room to room, checking out bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry and all other living spaces. We will be checking the condition of stairs & railings, floors, walls & ceilings, windows & doors, lights, fans and receptacles and smoke & CO detectors. After the fireplace is inspected we will move to the basement or crawl space to examine the floor structure, beams & columns, HVAC system, water heater, plumbing & drainage, electric service panel & wiring and the foundation walls & floor. Throughout the process, we will take over a hundred photos to document the condition of everything that we see.
This is an abbreviated list of inspected items, just so that you get a feel for the process. Please read the Standard of Practice found below to see all of the items that we inspect. Expect the complete inspection for a home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths & 2 car garage with openers to take roughly 2-1/2 - 3 hours. Older homes and larger homes with more rooms and additional furnaces, air conditioners, water heaters, garage doors, etc., will take more time to thoroughly inspect. Buying a home is a major investment and we will not rush the process. We will take whatever time is needed to complete a thorough inspection, point out maintenance tips and answer all of your questions along the way.
The Standard of Practice
The Standard of Practice in Wisconsin is specified by SPS 131.31 and describes all requirements of a home inspection. A number of Home Inspector Associations publish their own version of the Standard of Practice (SOP). They are all quite similar and we chose to follow the SOP published by InterNACHI, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. InterNACHI is the trade association that we belong to and their SOP, which exceeds the Wisconsin standard, is commonly used in our area. It meets or exceeds most state’s SOPs and provides for more uniform inspection criteria across the country. The SOP spells out the visual nature of the inspection, the specific items that must be reported on, the specific items that do not have to be reported on and the conditions that may affect the requirements of reporting. It is a report on the condition of the home that can be clearly seen, at the time of the inspection. The Standard of Practice is written very plainly and is pretty easy to understand. It’s the roadmap that we follow through your home and use as a checklist, to help to avoid missing anything.
Please – Read the Standard of Practice
We want you to be happy with your inspection report. It is very important to read through the Standards of Practice document so that you understand the nature of the home inspection and what to expect out of your inspection report. There may be items unique to your property or additional items that you would like to have included in the inspection that is not required by the SOP. It is important to discuss your requirements with the inspector prior to scheduling to ensure that these special items are not left out of the report. We want you to get the report that you expect! We follow the InterNACHI Standards of Practice found here!
Technical Definition of a Home Inspection
A home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the readily accessible areas of a residential property, performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector. The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process.
Two Things to Keep in Mind
1. The home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of any future conditions.
2. The home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.
Conditions change and sometimes change quickly. Hidden problems are just that, hidden from view, waiting to spring out at the worst possible time. Maybe it's snow obscuring the missing shingles on the roof, a storage unit hiding the crack in the basement wall or an open junction box buried under the insulation in the attic. These are a few examples of defects not visible at the time of inspection but will likely show themselves in the future after becoming a problem. And things change, for example, we may find that the A/C unit looks clean, runs smooth and blows cold while testing but fails a few months later on the hottest day of the year. Houses and the systems in them will wear down and break down at some point in time. For many of these types of issues, a maintenance plan and a home warranty can offer peace of mind.
The Inspection Agreement
This is the contract between the client and My Dream Home Inspection LLC and specifies what is expected from both parties. If you have requirements outside of the Standard of Practice and this Inspection Agreement, please discuss them with us before your scheduled appointment. We will work with you to ensure that you will receive the inspection report that you are expecting. The final Inspection Agreement sent to you must be agreed to and signed prior to the start of the inspection.
You can pre-view the Inspection Agreement here: